India making efforts to increase presence in Egypt,Pak: Jairam

Determined efforts are being made to increase the presence of Indian tea in markets like Egypt, Iran and Pakistan, besides its traditional markets, Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh has said.

'In addition to our traditional export markets of Russia, UK and the UAE, we are making determined efforts to increase presence of Indian tea in countries like Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Trends are promising and very soon, the Tea Board and UPASI will reopen the India Tea Promotion Centre in Cairo', the minister said in a message sent to India International Tea Convention, which concluded here on Saturday.

While India remains an overwhelmingly CTC-tea producing country, in some markets there was growing demand for orthodox tea due to which the government has embarked on an ambitious programme of increasing the orthodox tea production share in total tea output from the present level of 8-9 per cent to around 12 per cent over the next three-four years, he said.

With India coming more and more under the ambit of the geographical indications (GI) legislation,the country has domestic and 'NBSP GIs' for Darjeeling tea, Kangra Valley Tea, Assam Orthodox Tea and Nilgiri Orthodox Tea, besides a recognised logo for Dooars-Terai tea.This will ensure improved quality and traceability as well,he said.

Stressing on value-addition in tea exports,the minister said the first important initiative in this regard was being started for the export of Darjeeling tea where the value-addition presently takes place outside of India.

The tea industry in India has gone through troubled times and was now in the midst of profound changes. Massive productivity-enhancing programmes have been launched. New research projects to develop better tea varieties suited to different agronomic conditions have been started, he said.

Marketing was receiving a new thrust.The Centre was also examining ways and means of sharing the cost of providing social infrastructure in tea garden areas so that the burden on tea garden owners themselves reduces and their competitiveness is enhanced.

Small tea growers are an important and growing part of the tea industry and their special needs and concerns are being addressed in a focussed manner. Energy efficiency schemes in tea manufacture have been introduced keeping in view the imperatives of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.