Aiming at geographical diversification, Darjeeling tea exporters have been trying to tap the vast Chinese market, but are yet to taste success so far due to travel constraints amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an official said on Monday.
Chairman of Indian Tea Exporters Association (ITEA) Anshuman Kanoria said the exporters of Darjeeling tea are exploring new markets, including China.
“Our traditional markets of premium Darjeeling orthodox tea have been Europe, Japan and Germany. We are looking at other regions like the USA and China,” Kanoria said.
He said although talks with Chinese importers are underway, exploration of the market has hit a roadblock as participating in trade fairs and other activities have not been possible, owing to the pandemic-related restrictions.
“To explore new markets, a lot of promotional activity is required for which funds are a prerequisite, too. We hope the government will come to our aid,” Kanoria added.
Earlier, Tea Board Chairman P K Bezboruah had said the Indian tea industry should tap the huge Chinese market to increase exports.
Kanoria said China has been buying cheaper Assam variety to consume milk tea.
“They are not buying Darjeeling tea from us, but paying exorbitant prices to purchase their own produce,” he said.
India can export 20-30 million kg of tea to China. At present, shipments to China stand at around 12 million kg, according to Tea Board data.