The Indian tea industry is gearing up to meet the increasing global demand for orthodox tea after supplies from crisis-hit Sri Lanka shrunk.
Sri Lanka is a major grower and exporter of orthodox tea and its weakened presence has changed the market dynamics, said a Moneycontrol report.
India's huge domestic demand is skewed towards CTC tea and accounts for the bulk of the output.
Orthodox tea is preferred for export and accounts for only 10 percent of the country's tea production which was 1,343 million kg in 2021.
The gap left by Sri Lanka has opened an opportunity for Indian producers to export more and explore new markets.
According to the Moneycontrol report, the president of the Indian Tea Association Ajay Jalan said once the international consumers get used to Indian tea, it will not be easy for them to change once Sri Lanka resumes normal supply.
He added that Orthodox tea from Assam is superior in quality than the one from Sri Lanka.
It may take Sri Lanka at least a year or two to resolve the economic crisis and by that time Indian could establish itself in the markets traditionally supplied by Sri Lanka.
However, it will not be easy for tea producers to increase their capacity for Orthodox tea in a short time as it has to meet stringent export norms and needs several certifications, noted Anil George Joseph, vice-president of the tea division of South India's largest tea producer Harrisons Malayalam Ltd.
Consequent to the surge in demand for Orthodox tea, prices for the variety have increased in North India by 30-50 percent, pushing overall tea prices, though CTC tea prices have remained almost flat.