Tea exporters anticipate 225 million kg shipments in 2022, underpinned by strong demand

Given the demand scenario, the industry expects the value of tea exports to increase by 40 to 50 percent over the next two to three years, Kanoria said.Shipment

Buoyed by the "encouraging" demand scenario in overseas markets, Indian tea exporters are hoping to ship 220-225 million kg in 2022, filling the void left by crisis-hit Sri Lanka, officials said. India exported 196.54 million kg of tea worth Rs.5,311.15 billion in 2021.

"Right now, India has very good export demand. Of course, the situation in Sri Lanka has helped," the Indian Tea Exporters Association chairman told PTI Anshuman Kanoria.

“This year we hope to reach the 225 million kg mark in tea shipments. Most of the exported crop is of the orthodox variety. The prices of this variety increase by about 10-20% per year. -over the year based on quality,” he said.

      tea exports
Given the demand scenario, the industry expects the value of tea exports to increase by 40 to 50 percent over the next two to three years, Kanoria said.

Shipments in the first months of the current season from March rose 10 to 20 percent, said Mohit Agarwal, director of the Asian Tea Company, one of the country's top five tea exporters.

He said the industry was struggling to get containers for sanctions-hit Russia but demand for the orthodox variety in Middle Eastern countries was "encouraging".

The industry expects to reach the pre-Covid level export volume of 250 million kg next year, he said.

“The Indian tea export market remains buoyant and we are optimistic of reaching at least 220 million kg of exports this year. The MRL issues on the domestic market have no impact on the export front. All international buyers are testing our shipments and have had no complaints,” ITEA member Agarwal told PTI.

MRLs are defined as the maximum concentration of pesticide residues that are likely to end up in food after pesticide use, according to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

“A compilation of international laws would restrict the use of almost all pesticides and there are huge discrepancies in laboratory results, each indicating that the results are subject to +/- 50% error.

"In such an environment, a lab failure is more of a rejection by the legislature than a reflection of safety," Kanoria said.

The exporting community conducts rigorous testing to ensure all teas exported meet the standards of the importing country, he said.

“Producers are required by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to produce teas that comply with national food safety laws. Indian tea exports have been well received around the world, with less than 0.1% of shipments encountering any problems, if any,” said the head of ITEA.

South India Tea Exporters Association chairman Dipak Shah said the Tea Board needs to be more proactive to ensure all testing for pesticides in tea leaves ends at the farm level at the end of the day.

“When MRL issues arise, we receive questions from overseas buyers. We assure them that exporters test shipments regularly... but we have not heard any reports of returns," Shah told PTI.

Referring to the export scenario, he said the industry remains optimistic about orthodox tea and prices of premium products of the variety have risen by 40-50 rupees in the overseas market as Sri Lanka is gripped by an unprecedented economic crisis.

"The tightening of MRL laws remains an ongoing discussion and tea is one of the safest beverages in the world," ITEA said in a recent statement.

The President of the Tea Research Association, Prabhat Bezboruah, had recently stated that "the non-compliance of some teas is mainly due to the detection limit of MRLs for certain compounds, which the FSSAI is already revising upwards and on 20th 2020".

The TRA, a 111-year-old organization that attends to the research and development needs of 75% of India's tea production, said it is revising integrated pest management protocols to ensure members comply with all aspects of FSSAI regulations.

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