Kolkata, Aug 30 (IANS) The Indian Tea Association (ITA) forecasts a high growth in 2006 for the recession-hit tea industry with more exports, production and domestic consumption.
Releasing the status paper for 2006 here, ITA, the apex body of tea growers, said with the equilibrium in demand and supply, the industry has gathered growth momentum that would help in ending the seven years of recession.
For 2006, ITA has projected a production of 930 million kg, consumption at 805 million kg and exports at 195 million kg.
The status paper says that owing to lower availability of crop during the first six months, average prices in all the auction centres had improved, reversing the trend that prevailed in 2005 characterised by lower price realisation, particularly in the CTC category.
The paper also cautions that the Indian tea industry would have to gear up for meeting global challenges. This was only possible by lowering cost of production, ITA said.
The paper stresses on the need to boost replantation to raise productivity and improve quality.
Regarding exports, the tea industry has identified three potential markets - Pakistan, Egypt and Iran. The ITA has asked the government to boost exports by branding and tea promotion activities in overseas markets and offering transport subsidy for tea movement from the northeast.
Indian tea exports during 2005 declined by six million kg, particularly due to losses in the Iraq market due to the conflict there.
Regarding imports, ITA has projected that during 2006, it would be 20 million kilograms as compared to 16 million kilograms in the previous year.
The Tea Board has recently commissioned the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta to do a study on domestic consumption in India.