(This story originally appeared in on Mar 05, 2021)KOLKATA: India, the world’s second largest tea producer, saw tea exports fall by about 18% or 44 million kg (mkg) to 208mkg in 2020 compared to 252mkg in the previous year, according to industry sources. However, Kenya, the country’s toughest competitor in tea exports, saw its exports increase by 22mkg to 519mkg in 2020.
The global tea export market too shrunk by 76mkg to1,824mkg in the pandemic-hit year. According to the latest available data, in 2020, India lost 21mkg business in Iran, one of its top destinations, and 9mkg in Russia, while it gained marginally in Poland, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Kenya gained from India’s loss and captured 85% of the Pakistan market.
Experts said the primary reason behind India’s shortfall in tea exports was the strict lockdown, which led to skiffing of overgrown leaves across tea estates.
“It resulted in an average year-on-year crop loss of 10%, which affected exports of tea,” said Atul Asthana, MD and CEO,
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