India exported 232.92 million kg of tea, valued at Rs 4,493.10 crore, in 2015-16 breaching the 230-million kg mark after 35 years. In 1980-81, the country had exported 231.74 million kg of the commodity.
The production of tea increased in India and the shipment was 17% higher than a year ago, while in value terms, it was an increase of Rs 669.46 crore, or 17.51%, according to data from the Tea Board. The increase was mainly on account of higher quantities bought by Russia, Iran, Germany, Pakistan, Bangladesh, UAE and Poland.
The average price realization and quantity sold at tea auctions in India also registered an increase of 8.05% and 17.82%, respectively, as compared with the previous fiscal. The quantity of tea sold in north India auction centres increased by 39.31% over 2014-15, with an increase of 3.27% in average price realized.
In south India auctions, the quantity increased by 26.22% from a year ago, with an increase of 29.01% in average price realized. Last year, the Tea Board had introduced a provision that allowed selling of at least 50% of tea produced by registered manufacturers through the auction route.
In 2015-16, the country produced 1,233.14 million kg of tea—the highest so far. As compared with 2014-15, it was up by 35.96 million kg, or 3%. Officials said the increase in production was mainly due to higher yield in the northern region, where it went up by 52.74 million kg (5.52%).
However, south India's production declined by 16.78 million kg (-6.95%) due to adverse climatic conditions and labour issues in Kerala. The all-India production of tea estates increased by 1.62%, while the production of the Bought Leaf Factory (BLF) sector increased by 5.81%, which indicates increase of small tea growers' share in production.
Thus, about 33.85% of the total tea production is being contributed by small growers. Among the major tea growing states, the share of small growers to the production is highest in Tamil Nadu (53.16%) followed by West Bengal (40.4%) and Assam (27.55%).