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The financial year 2015-16 saw record tea production at 1,233 million kg (mn kg) and exports crossing 230 mn kg after 35 years. We exported 232.9 mn kg, valued at Rs 4,493 crore. In 1980-81, export was 231.7 mn kg; it had since not crossed that level. Of the production, that of crush-tear-curl (CTC) was 91 per cent of the total, at 1,121 mn kg, up 23.2 mn kg. Tea Board data shows total domestic production grew by three per cent or nearly 36 mn kg from the year before. North India — the sectoral term covers the three main growing areas of Bengal, Assam and Himachal’s Kangra — grew 1,009 mn kg, up 5.5 per cent by 52.7 mn kg from 2014-15. South Indian gardens saw 224.6 mn kg, a decline by 16.8 mn kg or nearly seven per cent, due to adverse climatic conditions and labour issues in Kerala. Among major growing states, the share of small growers was the highest in Tamil Nadu at 53 per cent, followed by West Bengal at 40 per cent and Assam at 27.6 per cent. Average price realisation and quantity sold at auctions rose 8.1 per cent and 17.8 per cent, respectively, from 2014-15.
The quantity sold in North India auction centres increased 39.3 per cent, with a rise of 3.3 per cent in average price realisation; the comparative figures for South India were 26.2 per cent and 29 per cent, respectively, of increase. Exports increased by 33.8 mn kg or 17 per cent. In value terms, the increase was Rs 669.5 crore or 17.5 per cent. Shipment to Russia increased 22.4 per cent to 48.2 mn kg, followed by Iran where exports stood at 22.1 mn kg, a 22 per cent increase. Pakistan took 19.4 mnkg, a rise of 27.4 per cent. Germany, Bangladesh, UAE and Poland also contributed significantly to the surge in export.