Indian tea production has reached a record high of 1325.06 million kilogram with an export of 256.57 million kilogram. The earlier record for the highest quantity of tea exports was during the financial year 1976-77 when the total quantity exported was 242.42 million kilogram.
One of the mainstays of civilisation, tea industry has played a huge part in the Indian economy. According to a recent report by the Tea Board of India, the Indian tea production has reached a record high of 1325.06 million kilogram (kg) in FY 2018, registering a 6 pc increase over the last year. The total quantity of tea export in FY 18 stood at 256.57 million kg, with an increase of 28.9 million kg, a 12.7 pc jump over the same period last year. This was a new record registered, beating the record set during the 1976-77 fiscal year, when 242.42 million kg were exported.
The exports have yielded revenue of USD 785.92 from tea exports, during FY 2017-18, which is 13.8 pc more than in 2016-2017. The main importers of Indian tea were Russia (48 million kg) and Iran (31 million kg). The growth in exports was majorly driven by Egypt (increased by 7.49 million kg), Iran (increased by 6.95 million kg), Pakistan (increased by 4.96 million kg), China (increased by 2.91 million kg) and Russia (increased by 2.89 million kg).
Tea production in India
The Indian tea industry is a 172 year old industry and is also among the largest with nearly 13,000 gardens and a workforce of over two million people. India is one of the world’s largest consumers of tea, with about three -fourth of the country’s total produce consumed locally. Certain varieties of tea like Darjeeling tea are grown only in India and are in great demand all over the world.
According to reports the tea industry is doing quite well since mid last year. Even though the production was not considered good in South in the months of January and February due to harsh weather conditions, the production gained momentum in March. Similarly, north India produced 46.72 million kg against 41.49 million kg in March 2017, marking an increase of 5.23 million kg or 12.61 pc. South India produced 14.32 million kg (against 14.67 million kg), a 2 pc drop due to prolonged winter conditions.
Conditions have also improved in the eastern region. Tea industry suffered a huge loss last year after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha called for a shutdown demanding separate statehood from West Bengal, which continued for 100 days. The entire tea production in the Darjeeling hills came to a halt. The two most significant contributors to Darjeeling’s economy are tourism and the tea industry, both of which came to a standstill last year. The West Bengal government is now coming up with marketing and support initiatives to help global customers’ confidence return to this brand. Due to the sudden unavailability of tea, it has posed serious threats among global buyers. Darjeeling tea is the first product from India to obtain a globally recognised Geographical Indication (GI) tag and logo. This brand of tea cannot be sold without the GI tag and the logo as well as using the ‘Darjeeling Tea’ name for any other tea blend apart from the one produced in Darjeeling, is illegal. The key markets of Darjeeling tea account for Germany, Japan, USA, UK and others.