India’s imports of cheap teas from Kenya, Nepal and other destinations reached 12.16 million kg in the first six months of 2021

Despite being the world leader in black tea production, India has seen imports of cheap teas from Kenya, Nepal and other destinations reach 12.16 million kg in the first six months of 2021, more than three-quarters of annual imports of 15.86. million kg in 2019, a pre-Covid-19 pandemic year.

Imports grew 176% year-on-year. In January-June 2020, the country had imported 4.41 million kg of tea.

While imports of tea to India are destined for re-export, much of these imported teas are blended with Indian teas and are sold domestically as Indian teas at a lower price, insiders of the ‘industry.

The Indian Tea Association (ITA) has urged the government to introduce a minimum import price for teas entering India.

“Kenyan tea imports soared to 5.02 million kg in the first six months of 2021, compared to 1.49 million kg in the same period of the previous year. This is a significant increase, ”ITA secretary Sujit Patra told ET. “As Kenyan prices hover around $ 1.7 / kg compared to the Indian price of $ 2.5 / kg, the business may have purchased more volumes of Kenyan tea this year for re-export. A similar trend was observed in the case of teas from Nepal, which are duty free.

Industry executives said that a large part of these cheap imported teas are sold in the domestic market as Indian teas, which has an impact on the image of Indian teas. India produced 622.86 million kg of tea between January and July, up from 442.08 million kg a year ago.

Patra said the ITA told the Tea Board that any tea imported into India should strictly follow the rules of origin. “Multi-origin teas should not be sold like Indian tea,” he said.

The producer body urged that all parameters regarding the minimum residue limits set by the Indian Food Safety and Standards Authority be verified.

“A few National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) laboratories may be assigned for this purpose,” Patra said.

In view of the abnormally low import prices of a large volume of teas, setting a minimum import price should be considered to ensure that teas are imported at a cost greater than the cost of producing Indian teas. , according to the ITA.


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