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Tea Board Plans to Export 300 mkg of Tea in Next 5 Years

Tea Board would also collaborate closely with the industry to increase domestic tea consumption. The goal is to make tea more appealing to the younger generation.

Shivam Dwivedi
Women in Tea field
Women in Tea field

Tea Board of India anticipates that tea exports will increase to nearly 300 million kg (mkg) in the next three to five years. Tea exports are expected to reach 240 mkg in FY-23, owing to strong demand from existing markets and the addition of some new ones.

According to Saurav Pahari, Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Tea Board, India is "quite capable" of filling the global market gap created by Sri Lanka's ongoing economic crisis. "We are aiming for export-led growth and close to 300 mkg exports in the next five years. Quality will be crucial in this. We intend to compete vigorously with Kenya and Sri Lanka. Our traditional production is adequate to meet market demand," Pahari told the media at an event held on Saturday as part of International Tea Day, which was organized by the Tea Board in collaboration with the Indian Tea Association (ITA).

In 2021, India exported nearly 195 mkg of tea due to a payment issue in Iran, high freight charges, and a lack of container availability. In 2019, the country exported nearly 256 mkg of tea, which was among the highest in recent memory.

"We're looking into target markets (for increasing exports) like North America, Western Europe, Canada, and South Korea, among others." When the geopolitical situation improves, exports will not only return to pre-pandemic levels, but will grow at a much faster rate," he said.

The industry anticipates that orthodox tea producers will benefit from Sri Lanka's lower crop, both in terms of volume and value of exports, particularly to countries such as Iraq, Iran, the CIS (primarily Russia), and the UAE.

The Tea Board would also collaborate closely with the industry to increase domestic tea consumption. The goal is to make tea more appealing to the younger generation. "One of the main thrust areas of our promotional activities moving forward would be improving domestic consumption by at least 30%," he said.

According to Nayantara Palchoudhuri, Chairperson of the ITA, the tea sector's sustainability is no longer just about profitability, but also about the well-being of all stakeholders. Tea prices that are fair to producers are critical to the industry's long-term viability. "The market's oversupply situation must be addressed through generic promotion, product innovation, and value addition," she said.

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