A Parliamentary panel has said it is “gravely concerned” over the issue of re-export of cheap quality of tea by some exporters under the brand of tea of Indian origin, affecting the image and value of the country’s beverage in export markets.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce chaired by Shanta Kumar in its report on performance of the “plantation sector-tea and coffee industry” was tabled in Parliament.

“The committee is gravely concerned on the unpreparedness of the Department (of Commerce) to deal with the unscrupulous exporters importing cheap tea from other countries and re-exporting it without any significant value addition under false certificate as quoting the genuine exporters of Indian tea,” it said.

The committee report opined that the “apathy of the department” towards such practices has seriously undermined the image as well as value of Indian tea in the export market.

It asked the Department to take urgent steps to redress the situation through a strict monitoring of the quality of tea being exported.

“The Committee would therefore like the Department to evolve an appropriate monitoring mechanism in respect of import of tea for exports and ensure that the licenses are issued only to individuals/organisations with proven credentials,” it added.

India exports CTC (crush, tear and curl) tea variety to Egypt, Pakistan and the UK. It ships the premium orthodox variety to Iraq, Iran and Russia.

In the last fiscal, India’s tea exports fell by 11 per cent to 190.95 million kg from 213.79 million kg in 2010-11 fiscal.

The country had imported 18.60 million kg of tea in the 2011 calendar year as compared to 20.04 million kg in 2010.

India is the fourth largest exporter of the brew globally after Kenya, China and Sri Lanka.

Tea is grown in 15 states in the country in 5.79 lakh hectares, which accounts for 16 per cent of the total area under the brew in the world.

(This article was published on August 20, 2012)
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