It is a historical moment for India’s tea industry. Indian tea production in 2015-16 was a record breaking 1,233 million kg (mn kg) while exports crossed the 230 mn kg mark after 35 years. The Asian country exported 232.9 mn kg worth Rs 4,493 crore. The country last exported 231.7 mn kg tea in 1980-81. The country could not manage to breach that level until the last fiscal.
“Compared to 2014-15, the quantity of tea exports increased by 33.84 million kg or, 17 per cent, while in value terms, the increase is by Rs 669.46 crore or 17.51 per cent,” the board said in a statement.
Crush-tear-curl (CTC) constituted 91% of the total production at 1,121 mn kg, up 23.2 mn kg. Orthodox production accounted for 7.51% at 92.60 mn kgs with an increase of 8.47 million kgs in comparison to last year. Green tea was up by 4.30 mn kgs at 19.19 mn kgs and accounted for 1.56%.
Data made public by the tea board reveals that total domestic production was up by 3% or about 36 mn kg as compared to the previous year. Bengal, Assam and Himachal’s Kangra, the three major tea producing areas in North India produced 1,009 mn kg of tea. 5.5% more than the 52.7 mn kg grown last year. Top tea producing regions in South India saw a fall in tea production. The total production was only 224.6mn kg, i.e. a decline by 16.8 mn kg or about 7%. Poor climatic conditions and labour troubles in Kerala are to blame.
Tamil Nadu has been identified as the tea growing state with the highest number of small growers at 53%. West Bengal and Assam follow close with 40% and 27.6% respectively.
Moving over to exports, the country shipped 17% more tea in the last fiscal. In terms of earnings, there was an increase of Rs 669.46% or 17.51% according to the data released by the tea board. Russia, Iran, Germany, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UAE and Poland imported higher quantities. Russia imported 48.2 mn kg, an increase of 22.4%, Iran 22.1 mn kg with a 22% increase. Pakistan imported 19.4 mnkg, up by 27.4 mn kg.
Average price realisation and quantity sold at auctions also saw a rise. It was up by 8.05% and 17.82%, respectively.
39.31% more tea was sold in North India auction centres with a 3.3% rise in average price realisation. For South India, the increase was 26.2 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively.