India’s tea exports for the January-September period of the calendar year 2023 have dropped 1.7 per cent to 170 million kilograms (mkg) against 173 mkg a year ago on a decline in purchases by key buyers such as the UAE, Russia and Iran. However, shipments to several markets such as Iraq, Turkey and China saw an increase during the period.

In value terms, tea exports were up 1.4 per cent at ₹4,648 crore compared with ₹4,584 crore in the year-ago period, as per the DGCIS data.

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Shipments to UAE declined by 16 per cent to 26.27 mkg from 31.37 mkg. In value terms, shipments to UAE were down at ₹722 crore (₹866 crore in January-September 2022). Exports to Russia in volumes fell 18 per cent to 24.53 m kgs (29.84 mkg), while in value terms the decline was 11 per cent at ₹416 crore (₹466 crore).

Big plunge

Shipments to Iran saw a major decline of 67 per cent at 6.25 mkg (18.81 mkg). In value terms, the decline in tea exports to Iran was 63 per cent at ₹183 crore (₹501 crore).

However, tea exports to Iraq more than doubled during the period to 23.82 mkg (9.98 mkg). In value terms, tea exports to Iraq were up 177 per cent at ₹419 crore from ₹ 151 crore in the same period a year ago. Similarly, shipments to Turkey were up 264 per cent to 4.7 mkg (1.29 mkg). In value terms, tea exports to Turkey rose to ₹136 crore (₹31 crore). Shipments to Saudi Arabia were up 34 per cent at 4.9 mkg (3.66 mkg). In value terms, tea exports to Saudi rose to ₹169 crore (₹113 crore).

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“While shipments to traditional markets continue to be sluggish, the markets such as Iraq and Turkey have seen growth this calendar year. There’s a need to diversify the markets for Indian teas to sustain and grow exports” said C Shreedharan, President, UPASI.

Besides Iraq and Turkey, India’s tea exports to countries like China, Egypt, Netherlands and Italy among other countries have witnessed an increase during the period.