According to the latest data released by the Tea Board, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged as the second largest importer of tea from India after the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as a bloc.
During the period January to September 2022, the UAE imported 28.58 million kilograms of tea from India, up 159 percent from the same nine-month period in 2021.
CIS countries imported 38.06 million kg during that period in 2022, up from 33.34 million kg in the same period in 2021.
Tea industry sources said exporters are looking at other avenues as shipments to Iraq, a major importer, have come to naught due to payment issues.
“It is good to see that UAE is now importing Indian tea in a big way,” said an exporter. This bodes well for the exporters as it is a major consumer of premium orthodox variety.
Besides Iraq, shipments to Iran, another major buyer, are also not picking up the commodity due to economic sanctions imposed by the US and non-issuance of invoices to Indian exporters.
Exporters to the CIS are also in limbo due to the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which had affected shipments due to logistics issues, exporters said.
During the nine months from January to September 2022, the total exports of Indian tea stood at 165.58 million kg, up from 142.55 million kg in the same period in 2021.
Planters’ apex body Indian Tea Association (ITA) has predicted that Indian tea exports will reach 230 million kg in 2022 as compared to 196 million kg in 2021.
The tea industry is also looking at the Chinese market to increase exports as the country accounts for the highest consumption of the beverage.