Indian tea exports fell both by volume and value during the first six months of 2012-13. While exports have been on a downward curve in recent times, earnings had been steady mainly on the back of good realisation. This trend now seems to have been impacted mainly due to a steep drop in export volume — from 102.6 million kg between April and September 2011 to 81.9 million kg in the same period in 2012. Earnings stood at Rs.1,507.5 crore against Rs.1,560.2 crore.

Exports have been lower from the tea estates in North India as well as South but the dip has been sharp in the South which produces 25 per cent of India tea crop and exports nearly the entire amount.

During the first nine months of calendar 2012, exports dropped to 125 .7 million kg from 148.4 million kg a year ago. Earnings stood at Rs. 2,203.1 crore against Rs.2,234.6 crore in 2011.

An analysis by the Tea Board of India showed that barring countries such as Egypt, Germany and the Netherlands, Indian tea has seen a squeeze in all its overseas markets which in some cases were particularly sharp — like the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), Iran and Pakistan.

However, India’s export performance needs to be seen in the background of an overall slack condition in world tea exports, which saw a 3 per cent decline in volume. All the major exporters of black tea — India, Kenya and Sri Lanka — showed a drop, although it was sharpest for India. It may be mentioned here that China is a late entrant in the black tea market, but its output volumes now challenge the established players.

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