New delhi: The Tea Board has asked industry to boost exports which were suffering due to price arbitrage in the domestic market, an industry official said.
Tea exports, which fell by about 12 millon kg in April-September 2014, could also also witness a similar downtrend in October-December 2014 as well, the official said. "During 2014, exports have declined as prices in the overseas markets have softened while that in the domestic auctions have firmed up," a source in the Indian Tea Association (ITA), the apex body of tea growers said.
The crop in Assam had suffered due to the drought conditions prevailing there leading to lower production of orthodox teas, the major export revenue earner. The markets of Iran, the US, Pakistan and Bangladesh had made lower offtake of Indian tea, leading to a aggregate decline of 12 million kg during the period from April to September 2014.
The east African markets of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which had produced a bumper crop back-to-back for the last two years, had been exporting more as the prices in their domestic markets were weak.
The Russian market, a major consumer of the orthodox variety, remained flat during the year owing to falling value of the Rouble, the source said. During 2014, total production in the country would be down by 20 million kg at 1180 million kg, as per rough estimates by ITA as the figures for the last two months were yet to come.
The source said that the industry was worried about the developments on the export front. Exports to Bangladesh came down by 4.6 million kg as the country had raised the import duty on tea. India is the second-largest tea producer in the world after China, with over 70% of the beverage produced, being consumed in the country itself.