Tea exports declined by 2.4 per cent to 184.35 million kg during the April-February period of the last fiscal according to latest Tea Board data. The shipment of the crop was at 188.91 million kg in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Value of exports in the first nine months of 2021-22 increased marginally to Rs 4,956 crore as compared to Rs 4,933 crore in the corresponding period of the 2020-21 fiscal.
CIS countries, including Russia and Ukraine, imported 41.18 million kg, the highest among the overseas destinations of Indian tea, during the period under review from 46.19 million kg in the year-ago period. Among the CIS bloc, Russia was the main importer with a shipment of 31.88 million kg April- February period of 2021-22, down from 33.65 million kg in the same period previous year, according to the Tea Board data.
Iran was the second largest importer at 27.25 million kg, marginally up from 26.48 million kg in the first nine months of the 2020-21.
The US imported 12.43 million kg in the April-February period of the last fiscal, a higher volume from 10.81 million kg in the corresponding period previous year, the data said.
The shipment to China was sharply lower at 4.3 million kg in the first nine months of the last fiscal as against 11.22 million kg in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.
According to tea industry sources, exports were lower due to shortage of shipping containers and high ocean freight.
In the calendar period January to December 2021, Tea exports fell to 195.50 million kg in the 2021 calendar year from 209.72 million kg in 2020, the board data said. The tea industry had sought a special financial package from the Centre for retaining the viability of plantation activity, which is now under threat. According to Indian Tea Association (ITA), annual production in Darjeeling tea has drastically fallen from 12 million kg to six million kg, the primary reason being difficulty in replantation due to the hilly terrain and lack of expansion of the cultivation area in the region.