Kolkata: Pulwama terrorist attack and Balakot airstrike seem to have failed to dampen India's tea exports to Pakistan. In fact, it has gone up quite significantly.
Higher import of Indian tea by Pakistan has more been by compulsion than by choice. Kenya had been experiencing a drought like situation, resulting in a substantial drop in its tea output and that in turn led to shooting up of prices by 15 to 20 per cent at the Mombassa auction. Pakistan therefore hardly had a choice but to import larger quantity of tea from India. If this trend continues, India's tea export to Pakistan could rise to 20-25 million kg in 2019 from 15.83 million kg in 2018.
This has also to be seen in light of the fact that Paki-stan had registered a 35.8 per cent rise in per capita consumption of tea between 2007 and 2016, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN. At present, Pakistanis consume 172,911 tonne of black tea, and the figure is expected to rise to 250,755 tonne by 2027, as per FAO estimates.
These facts and figures should bring cheers to Indian tea growers, The ndian Tea Association (ITA) says payments from Pakistan are regular and if the rising trend continues Indian can expect 20-25 million kg of exports this year.
There is more good news. India is heading for higher tea production in 2019, going by the first quarter trend, which has reversed the falling trend. As per Tea Board's official statistics, India's tea production in March rose to 74.59 million kg (mkg) from 61.04 mkg in March 2018, which is an increase of 13.55 mkg or 22.20 per cent. From January to March, the cumulative production of tea rose to 103.61 mkg from 92.20 mkg, a gain of 11.41 mkg, or 12.38 per cent. North Indian teas, dormant from December 2018 due to the Tea Board’s order to close operations in winter to get rid of sub-standard teas, have now started to hit the market. Production from the North in Q1 rose to 64.13 mkg.