The current war is certain to harm India’s tea exports to Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, including Russia.
“I stand before you at a critical juncture when the world is witnessing a major war in Europe wherein the Western Block has swiftly introduced draconian economic measures. In this world of inter-dependability no nation, including India can remain insulated from it,” said Ajay Jalan, president of Tea Association of India – Assam Branch at the 35th biennial general meeting held in Kaziranga.
According to Jalan, India’s overall tea exports to CIS countries, including Russia, are typically in the range of 58-65 million kilogrammes.
“Coupled with the fact that the country has an ongoing payment issue vis-a-vis Iran, the country is staring at a sharp decline in export figures. The export for 2021 stuck at 195.50 million kg against 256 million kg attained in the year 2018.”
He cited AgriTech in the form of drone technology for field monitoring and pesticide spraying, as well as the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in constructing smart harvesters, as examples of increased input costs for the industry.
Talking about the proposed Tea (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, he said: “The Bill is a progressive one and should augur well for the Industry. The underline spirit of the Tea (Promotion & Development) Bill, 2022 is to provide for the Tea Board to move away from the regime of control to that of facilitation.”
The main objective of the bill is to focus on the quality and promotion of Indian tea as per the draft.
The tea board, through the bill, intends to remove the “archaic” provisions which have become irrelevant in today’s context.
The board had invited stakeholders to submit their views and suggestions on the draft bill. However, the parliament’s approval would be needed thereafter for it to become an act.