Agri Business

Tea export volume slides 2.33%, value drops 6.84%

P.S. Sundar Coonoor | Updated on February 18, 2011

teagarden_481742a.jpg   -  Business Line

Tea export in calendar 2010 has slid 2.33 per cent in volume and 6.84 per cent in value due to 4.62 per cent decline in price earned compared to 2009, reveals an analysis of the latest information available with Tea Board and exporters.

The volume exported in 2010 was 193.29 million kg (mkg) – almost equal to 192 mkg exported in 1999. This means, export in the last year of the first decade of the new millennium was almost the same as the last year of the previous decade or end of the last millennium – a sign of stagnancy, if not retardation or inconsistency.

In the whole of last decade, exports were lower than 2010 only in two years – 179 mkg in 2007 and 173 mkg in 2003.

The volume shipped in 2010 fell by 4.61 mkg or 2.33 per cent over 2009. But, even this lower volume could be exported only when prices were reduced by Rs 6.51 a kg (4.62 per cent) to average Rs 134.26.

Because a lower volume was shipped and the price earned for it was also lower, the overall realisation fell sharply to Rs 2,595.21 crore — as much as Rs 190.64 crore less than 2009, posting a decline of 6.84 per cent.

However, the price of Rs 134.26 a kg was the highest obtained in the annals of Indian tea exports next only to Rs 140.77 a kg got in 2009. For the first seven years in the last decade, prices did not even touch Rs 100 level.

Consequently, the earning of Rs 2,595.21 crore was the highest in the history barring 2009 when the earning had risen to Rs 2,785.85 crore.

The current year is also posing challenges to tea exports.

Only the CIS and Pakistan are currently picking up select grades, that too when prices are lowered. Although India has listed Egypt as a target market and recently opened the India Tea Promotion Centre in Cairo, the civic unrest there is causing uncertainty for tea exports.

For the same reason, West Asian markets, especially Bahrain, Yemen and Iraq have become uncertain. Pakistan can never be a reliable market given the political proclivities and the harsh winter in Russia is hindering tea movement.

Published on February 18, 2011

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