The Tea Board of India has set a stiff target for exports in 2013, undeterred by the fact that exports have been under pressure of late.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar organised by the Indian Tea Association here, Tea Board of India chairman M G V K Bhanu said that an export target of 220 million kg had been set for 2013, against the provisional export figure of 201 million kg in 2012 and 215.4 million kg in 2011.

He said that his confidence in achieving the target stemmed from the fact that orthodox tea exports were growing. Several countries were showing interest in importing this high quality tea, which also fetched good prices. However, over the longer term, the Tea Board’s approach in respect of exports would be to de-emphasise volumes, focussing instead on value. “Domestic demand is rising at three per cent (30 million kg) annually,” he said.

Tea production has been impacted by climate change. Although India crossed the one billion kg mark in 2011, maintaining quality remained a challenge.

Mr. Bhanu also announced a Tea Board proposal that would give subsidy to companies setting up tea cafes, to boost the concept of people getting together over a good cup of tea. It was learnt that Rs. 25 crore is being budgeted for this purpose over the next four years for extending capital expenditure subsidy and working capital subsidy for setting up such outlets either on ownership or rental basis.

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