India’s tea exports peak in 2017

The country’s tea exports in 2017 touched a record high of 36 years at 240.7 million kgs; The previous high of 241.3 million kg was recorded in 1981

March 14, 2018

India is home to a wide variety of teas, including CTC tea, orthodox tea, green tea and organic tea. Unlike many other tea producing and exporting nations, India has a manufacturing for CTC, orthodox tea and green tea.

In 2017, Indian teas were exported at an average price of over US$3 per kg to 12 countries - Japan, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Singapore, the USA, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the Netherlands, the UAE, the UK.

India’s main tea-growing regions are in Northeast India, including Assam, and in north Bengal, including the Darjeeling district and the Dooars region. Tea is also grown on a large scale in the Nilgiris region in South India.

The Tea Board of India has started issuing identity card with QR code to small tea growers; A long standing demand of tea growers to regulate the industry, it shall be used for trading with registered tea growers through an app.

India’s tea exports touched a record high in 2017, indicating both strong demand worldwide as well as success of the measures take by the Government to popularise Indian teas abroad. The Government’s junior minister for commerce and industry, CR Chaudhary, told the upper house of the Parliament on March 14th that India exported 240.7 million kgs of tea in 2017 – the highest in 36 years. The previous high of 241.3 million kgs was achieved in the year 1981. The country is home to a wide variety of teas, including CTC tea, orthodox tea, green tea and organic tea. Unlike many other tea producing and exporting nations, India has a manufacturing base for both CTC and orthodox tea, as well as green tea. In 2017, Indian teas were exported at an average price of over US$3 per kg to 12 countries – Japan, Ireland, Australia, Canada, Singapore, the USA, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Germany, the Netherlands, the UAE, the UK.

The total turnover of the Indian tea industry is roughly US$1.5 billion. Since 1947, the tea production in India has increased by 250 per cent and the land are used for production has increased by 40%. This industry provides employment to more than 1.1 million Indian workers and almost half the workforce constitutes of women.

Indian tea is among the finest in the world owing to strong geographical indications, heavy investments, continuous innovation, augmented product mix and strategic market expansion. High-quality specialty teas from India include Darjeeling, Assam Orthodox and the high-range Nilgiri, which have a distinctive aroma, strength, colour and flavour. It has been a continuous endeavour of the authorities to strategize ways and means to increase export and enhance the share of Indian tea in the international market. Focused and sustained initiatives such as arrangement of buyer-seller interactions, exchange of experts and innovations, participation at international trade fairs and promotion of Indian brands in key geographies have helped expand Indian teas’ market worldwide. The domestic market of tea has also been growing over the years and has been seen to directly impact the exportable surplus of tea in India.

India’s main tea-growing regions are in Northeast India, including Assam, and in north Bengal, Darjeeling district and the Dooars region. Tea is also grown on a large scale in the Nilgiris in South India. India is one of the world’s largest consumers of tea, with about three-fourths of the country’s total produce consumed locally. Meanwhile, the Tea Board of India has started issuing identity card with QR code to small tea growers in the Northeastern state of Assam. The Government-run agency, established to promote the cultivation, processing, and domestic trade as well as export of tea from India, distributed the first batch of cards on January 20th in the Bongaigaon District. The ID card shall be used for buying and selling of green leaf from registered small tea growers through a mobile app. This ID process has been a long standing demand of small tea growers who expect it to help better regulate the industry.