The tea industry is bracing for a decline in exports to the tune of 30-40 million kg this year
as compared to 2020, due to the availability of low-cost varieties in the global market and amid trade restrictions in countries that have traditionally been strong importers, industry sources said.
The coronavirus-induced economic downturn in much of the world is also a factor for falling shipments, they said.
For the period between January to March this year, exports fell by 13.23 per cent as against the corresponding period a year ago, and by 29.03 per cent compared to 2019, as per Tea Board India data.
Altogether, 45.86 million kg tea was exported from India between January to March in 2021. The figure was 52.85 million kg in 2020 and 64.62 million kg in 2019.
The dip in the share of shipments from North India has been more compared to South India since the last three years.
While the tea export share of South India fell by 5.41 per cent in 2021 between January and March compared to the same period in 2020, the decline was 25.85 per cent compared to 2019.
In case of exports from North India, the figure for the three-month period was lower by 17.83 per cent as against 2020 and 31.04 per cent compared to 2019.
"Indian exports have suffered in the last two-three years due to very low prices of Kenyan and Sri Lankan tea. Kenyan tea auction price average is below $2 dollars per kg, which is much lesser than our auction average," Dinesh Bihani, secretary, Guwahati Tea Auction Buyers Association (GTABA), said.