Tea dealers reiterate demand for scrapping of import duty

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on July 09, 2014

Waghbakri Group Chairman and President of the Western India Tea Dealers Association (WITDA)Piyush Desai has once again reiterated his demand for removal of 100 per cent duty on tea imports citing possible shortfall of tea in the country. This comes amid stiff opposition from the tea traders and tea grower community across the country.

Expressing concern over a delayed monsoon at tea planting regions and a possible shortfall in crop this year , Desai said, “In the first two months of this year, there is a deficit of 21.37 million kg (mkg) in tea crop as compared to last year. This is due to delayed rains at planting regions. Tea consumption is growing at a pace of 4 per cent per year, while production is almost stagnant.”

Notably, Desai has been raising the demand for past three years but the Tea Board and the Government have not agreed to relax import duty on tea. Tea growers have been opposing any relaxation in import duty fearing tough competition with imported tea.

According to Desai, India requires around 40 mkg of tea from Kenya and Sri Lanka to meet any eventuality of a shortfall. However, currently India’s annual tea production is around 1,180-1,200 mkg, out of which around 970-980 mkg is consumed within the country and the rest is exported.

He maintained that in the next five years, India’s consumption will increase substantially, while with stagnant production, tea prices will double. According to Desai, tea procurement prices at auction centres have jumped by ₹30-40 a kg in the past during May-June period. “Retail tea prices will continue to increase by ₹20-30 every year,” he added.

Published on July 09, 2014

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