DESPITE being hit by several issues over the last few years, India’s tea industry reached an all-time record in terms of production in the fiscal year 2015-16.
Tea production was recorded at 1,233.14 million kg during the last fiscal compared with 1,197.18 million kg in 2014-15 — a three per cent rise — primarily because of a sharp rise in tea production in North India, the Tea Board of India said Friday.
Tea exports in 2015-16 stood at 232.92 million kg worth Rs 4,493.1 crore, breaching the 230-million kg mark after 35 years. “Compared to 2014-15, the quantity of tea exports increased by 33.84 million kg or, 17 per cent, while in value terms, the increase is by Rs 669.46 crore or 17.51 per cent,” the board said in a statement.
There have only been two instances when India was able to breach the 230-million kg mark in tea exports — 233.09 million kg in FY 1956-57 and 242.42 million kg in FY 1976-77. The main markets for India’s tea exports are Russia, Iran, Germany, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UAE and Poland.
According to the Tea Board, the increase in production of tea was mainly due to increase in production in North India by 52.74 million kg (5.52 per cent). South India, a traditional hub of tea production, saw a decline of 16.78 million kg or 6.95 per cent due to adverse climatic conditions and labour issues in Kerala.
The overall production of tea estates increased by 1.62 per cent, while the production of the bought leaf factory (BLF) sector increased by 5.81 per cent, which indicates rise of small tea growers’ share in production. About 33.85 per cent of the total tea production is being contributed by small growers.
CTC tea, which constitutes 90.93 per cent of the total production, was at 1,121.35 million kg, indicating an increase of 23.19 million kg compared to last year. Orthodox production, which comprises 7.51 per cent of the total production, stood at 92.60 million kg, showing a rise of 8.47 million kg against previous fiscal year.
The average price realisation and quantity sold at tea auctions throughout India also registered an increase of 8.05 per cent and 17.82 per cent, respectively, compared with FY 2014-15.