The Indian Tea industry is likely to face decline in exports to the tune of 30-40 million Kg this year as compared to 2020, due to the availability of low-cost varieties in the global market and amid various trade restrictions in countries that have traditionally been strong importers, sources said. The Pandemic induced global economic slowdown is a major factor for falling shipments, according to experts.
Between January to March this year, exports fell by 13.23 % as against the corresponding period a year ago, and by 29.03 % compared to 2019, as per Tea Board India Data.
Altogether, 45.86 million Kg tea was exported from India between January to March in 2021. The figure was 52.85 million Kg in 2020 and 64.62 million Kg in 2019.
While the tea export share of South India fell by 5.41 percent in 2021 between January and March compared to the previous year, the decline was 25.85 percent compared to 2019.
In case of exports from North India, the figure for the three-month period was lower by 17.83% as against 2020 and 32.04% compared to 2019.
“Indian exports have suffered in the last two-three years due to very low prices of Kenyan and Sri Lankan tea.”
“ Kenyan tea auction price average is below 2 US dollars per kg, which is much lesser than our auction average”, Dinesh Bihani, Secretary, Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association(GTABA) said.
India has exported 208 million Kg of tea out of total production of 1,255.60 million Kg in 2020, while shipments accounted for 252 million Kg out of 1,389.70 million Kg produced in 2019.
Exports to Pakistan, a major market for Indian Tea, have also stopped since the last three years following escalation of tension between the two countries, as per sources.
The US sanctions against Iran is also a cause of concern for the Indian Tea industry.