India’s production of orthodox tea at the moment is “sufficient” to fill the vacuum left by Sri Lanka in the global tea market, but the country would be capable of doing that if problems related to freight, shipping lines, and payments are sorted out, said Tea Board India chairman Saurav Pahari on Saturday.
As Sri Lankan orthodox tea production has seen a major dip, the Indian tea industry feels it is a huge opportunity for domestic tea exporters to increase their market share in the global tea market. However, freight costs have skyrocketed due to the Ukraine-Russia war, also there exists a serious shipping container shortage. Tea exporters have concerns over how to solve payment issues for their shipments to Russia, the largest importer of tea in the world. Further, there is a lack of clarity over payment mechanism with Iran.
“Our production of the orthodox tea at the moment is sufficient to cater to the vacuum that Sri Lanka has left behind. But the only problem at the moment is that due to the current international situation, there are payment problems. Exporters are not getting payments on time. There are freight problems. There are shipping line problems,” Pahari said, adding if these problems are sorted out, India would be quite capable of filling the gap left by Sri Lanka.
Pahari was talking to the media on the sidelines of a special event to commemorate the International Tea Day, organised by the Tea Board in collaboration with the Indian Tea Association in Kolkata. The Tea Board chairmansaidIndiaistryingto export tea to the alternative markets like North America and Western Europe, the markets that the country has not yet aggressively targeted. “There are a lot of tea drinking nations like Canada and South Korea which we have not really explored. Hence, now we need to go out there,” he added.