UPASI chalks out strategies to boost export of South Indian teas

The report also called for diversifying the market portfolio with an objective to retain and sustain the existing key markets
United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) has suggested marketing strategies for South Indian teas to augment exports in order to achieve better price realisation.
South India traditionally used to export more than 50 per cent of its production and its share in the country’s total export was nearly 50 per cent. However, it exported only 36 per cent of its production in 2022. Given the relatively high export intensity from South India, increasing the quantum of export turns critical to South India’s supply-demand dynamics.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union, which used to be an assured destination for Indian teas in general and South Indian teas in particular, has necessitated the tea industry to work with the Government in identifying and developing suitable markets, says the Plantation Sector – Overview report 2023 prepared by Upasi.
The presence of South Indian teas in the domestic market is largely region-specific and that market being finite; there is a need to export more volumes of teas. The report also called for diversifying the market portfolio with an objective to retain and sustain the existing key markets besides making a footprint in the emerging markets as a consistent supplier of dependable teas.
Towards developing and sustaining the export momentum, there is a need for nurturing traditional markets and developing new opportunities in emerging markets.
The South Indian tea sector has put in tremendous effort towards enhancing the quality profile of the teas, by reformatting field and factory practices and by restructuring the business process to be properly projected. The benefits of these additional efforts are reaped through various promotional activities by showcasing single estate origin teas, promoting tea growing regions, reinforcing Brand India in the overseas market and enhancing global visibility of Indian tea in general and South Indian tea in particular.
UPASI also proposed the Tea Board to explore the possibility of setting up an Atal Incubation Centre for Tea that can bring about much-needed innovation, in the fields of vending machines (Make-in-India), blockchain technology for traceability, Artificial Intelligence, and many other areas. If such support is provided for the tea sector, it will lead to much-needed innovation and value addition for tea.
Upasi data shows that overall tea exports between January-June this year dropped 0.8 per cent to 96.3 million kg. North India exported 59.16 million kg, which is 0.12 per cent higher than the previous year. However, South Indian teas registered a 2.25 per cent drop in shipments at 37.33 million kg.