Indrani Dutta

Kazakistan and Russia constitute largest importing block

Target for tea exports to Pakistan set at 10 m kg

Average price realisation

improves in 2008

KOLKATA: Having been able to maintain tea exports despite recessionary trends sweeping the world, India is aiming to increase the export of its best-known commodity, tea, in 2009. A target of 210 million kg has been fixed for the year as compared to 197-200 million kg in 2008. Interestingly, despite the freeze in relations between India and Pakistan, tea exports are on an upswing.

Tea Board Chairman Basudeb Banerjee told The Hindu that Pakistan’s tea imports from India in 2008 was being estimated at 7.67 million kg as compared to 5.5 million kg in 2007. Indications are that the upward trend in exports from India to its troubled neighbour, has been maintained so far this year too although official figures are likely to be available later. A target of 10 million kg has been fixed for this year. Between January and November 2008, exports to Pakistan touched 6.52 million kg valued at Rs. 48.65 crore as compared to 4.73 million kg valued at Rs. 51.30 crore in the same period in 2007.

During 2008, Russia imported 40 million kg and was India’s biggest market as the U.K. slipped from its earlier number two to number three position with imports of 18 million kg. The UAE imported 23 million kg, emerging as the second-largest market.

The U.K.’s position has also been threatened by Iran (16 million kg), Egypt (15 million kg) and Kazakistan (11 million kg). Between January and November 2008, Kazakistan, along with Russia, constituted the largest importing block buying both orthodox teas and CTC tea bags.

Exports during 2007 had declined to 178.75 million kg from 218.73 million kg in 2006 which was a record. Average realisations, however, had improved during the year. In 2008 too, prices are expected to be good with an average realisation of Rs. 112.82 a kg being clocked between January and November against Rs. 101.60 being the average price for the same period in 2007.