The United States is emerging as a major importer of tea and would begin governing prices of black tea, Tea Board Chairman M G V K Bhanu told exporters here on Friday. He also told them to focus on markets preferring high-value tea.
Five countries he said, which should be focussed on, are: Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, U.S. and Egypt.
Mr. Bhanu told The Hindu later that he would hold bi-annual sessions exclusively with exporters, as there was need for structured interaction with them.
“There are new markets developing like the U.S., Iraq and Sudan, which exporters need to be aware of,” he said.
Mr. Bhanu told the permanent exporters, (i.e. those holding export licences given by the regulator) that the overall consumer trend was moving towards high quality tea, as people had now become quality conscious and were willing to pay more for high quality tea.
“We will get greater value-realisation if we concentrate on exporting to those countries which prefer high-quality tea”, he told exporters.
He said that although, at present, the black tea segment was governed by Russia and CIS countries, the next two decades would see the U.S. dominating the scene.
Enquiries revealed that U.S. imports around 125 million kg of tea— mostly from Argentina. India’s share stood at around 14 million kg. “With the expansion of tea and coffee chains, the demand for quality Indian teas has been increasing in the U.S.” , the Chairman of ITA and Managing Director of Goodricke Tea A N Singh told The Hindu .
Indian tea exports average at 200 million kg with the unit realisation averaging at about Rs. 175.3 per kg.