Bappa Majumdar, Reuters
Kolkata: Tea exports from India, the world’s largest producer, rose 23.3% in January from a year earlier to 13.77 million kg, the state-run Tea Board said on Friday.
Officials said rising overseas demand should keep sales high over the next few months, even as leading competitor Kenya overcomes a drought that hit their output and exports last year.
“We are tapping a lot in the emerging markets in Asia and Africa which should help us sustain this growth,” Tea Association of India (TAI) spokeswoman Mridula Bhattacharya said.
Indian tea production in January fell 12.3% from a year earlier to 21 million kg, Tea Board officials said.
“Unfavourable weather conditions, especially with a drought-like situation prevailing in northern India, brought about this fall in production,” Kalyan Basu, the secretary general of the TAI, told Reuters.
“There is no doubt with some rains production will catch up.”
Exports reached 203.8 million kg in 2006, topping 200 million kg for the first time since 2002 mainly due to Kenya’s drought and India’s tapping of emerging markets, officials said.
In 2006, India exported 8.52 million kg of tea to Kenya, up from 1.54 million kg a year earlier.
“That will however change this year as Kenya seems to have overcome its problems,” Basu said.
The bulk of India’s exports in 2006 went to Iraq, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, officials said.
Tea production rose by 3% to 955.9 million kg in 2006 from 2005 as good weather lifted production in the north, officials said.
“The outlook for both production and exports for the year remains good, despite increasing competition,” Basu added.