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Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Assam Tea Industry To Suffer If The War Continues; Says ITA

Every year, Russia and Ukraine consume 45 million kg of Assam tea. The Indian Tea Association (ITA) is concerned that the Russia-Ukraine conflict may result in India losing such a large market.

Chintu Das
Assam Tea
Assam Tea

Nayantara Paul Choudhury, the chairperson of the Indian Tea Association (ITA), has said that the war between Russia and Ukraine will harm the Indian tea business, and that Assam will suffer the most if the conflict continues.

Russia and Ukraine, she claims, consume 45 million kg of Assam tea each year. Every year, Russia purchases 42 million kg, whereas Ukraine receives 3 million kg. The ITA is concerned that the conflict may cause India to lose a significant market.

"The conflict will have an impact on our tea sector in any case, and Assam will be the worst hit because Russia and the surrounding nations are its main clients." We are currently exporting the tea we made last year. We would lose the market for freshly produced tea if the war continues," Paul Choudhury remarked.

"If exports decline, there will be a large surplus of produced tea, and if we do not harvest the leaves, the entire system will be ruined." The rate will reduce as a result of the large amount of produced tea, and numerous gardens may be forced to close," she warned.

On Saturday evening, Nayantara Paul Choudhury and ITA general secretary Arijit Raha attended the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Surma Valley Branch of ITA in Silchar.

ITA claims that the AGM saw the publication of a white paper on Assam's Barak Valley tea industry, which is a first of its kind endeavour. The white paper focuses on topics that might help enhance tea production and distribution in Assam's Barak Valley area.

Arijit Raha stated that the white paper would be presented to the Assam government and the Union Ministry of Finance soon. They want to make some requests on state and central governments that will aid the tea industry's growth.

"To cut transportation costs, we need a warehouse in Barak Valley." Tea producers currently pay an additional 6 to 10 rupees per kg to ship their produced tea to Guwahati or Kolkata for auction. However, if we can keep it here and purchasers can come here and buy it, we can save a significant amount of money, which would benefit the industry," Raha said.

The ITA will also recommend to the government that commerce between India and Bangladesh be improved. "Tea consumption in Bangladesh is on the rise. They cultivate tea as well, but there is still a gap. If our government implements sound policies, we will be able to export a significant number of goods to Bangladesh. Because the transportation costs would be lower, it will be profitable," Raha said.

According to ITA authorities, tea production survived the Covid-19 outbreak thanks to government initiatives. The tea estates were put on lockdown for only two weeks, after which production resumed with half of the workforce.

"Tea leaves got bigger in these two weeks, and if the lockdown had lasted longer, the entire business would have been in serious trouble." The government aided garden workers in a variety of ways, allowing the business to thrive, according to Raha.

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