The Tea Trade Association of Cochin (TTAC) has voiced concern over parallel trading and the availability of counterfeit teas in the markets which are hitting tea prices in the auctions.

Though the Tea Board of India has taken efforts to curb such trades, Thomas Jacob, the outgoing Chairman of TTAC requested the Board to impose more strictures. At the association level, TTAC has taken measures to monitor FSSAI standards for teas offered through auctions, he said while addressing the 30th annual general meeting.

Referring to pan India auctions, he said users have started enjoying its benefits now. But there are a few areas where fine-tuning is required from the Tea Board to make it more beneficial and user-friendly for the stakeholders. 

Lessons to learn and tea park

Sri Lanka, the neighbor-cum-competitor in the field of tea manufacturing and exporting had a setback due to their economic crisis. The tea sector here should learn from its mistakes and take measures to safeguard. “We should establish ourselves by timely meeting the global requirements before they bounce back as a competitor,” Jacob said.

On the proposed Tea Park in Kochi, he urged the new committee to restart talks with the State Industries Department, which can play a vital role in coordination with the Tea Board to accomplish the task. TTAC’s previous committees had taken an effort for a state-of-the-art facility where storing, tasting, sampling, packing and forwarding facilities of tea come under one roof.

Export stats and Russia-Ukraine war impact

India’s tea exports during January to June 2022 increased to 96.89 million kg compared with 86.46 million kg in the previous period.

Quoting Tea Board data, Jacob said the largest importer traditionally has been the Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) where exports had slightly fallen to 20.58 million kg during the current six months against 21.04 million kg in the previous period of 2021. The fall had been due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine which has hit shipments.

Russia has been the major importer which stood at 14.76 million kg as compared to 15.88 million kg in the previous period. Exports to Iran touched 11.43 million kg in the current first half of 2022 as against 10.04 million kg in the previous period. However, Sri Lankan exporters could not tap the export market during the current period because of uncertainties and the figure stood at just 1.35 million kg.  

Meanwhile, KM Salim of KB Traders was elected as the Chairman of TTAC and Anil George Joseph of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd was elected as the Vice-Chairman for 2022-23