Kolkata, June 24 : India's tea exports are expected to clock a 5 per cent growth this year in terms of volume, provided shipments to Iran do not get disturbed, said Tea Board Chairman P.K Bezboruah.
"There are some challenges in the current year in terms of tea exports.
India's tea exports to Iran, which was a good customer last year, may get disrupted as the US has threatened to re-establish (nuclear programme-related) sanctions on Iran.
The Centre is working on it so that bilateral trade between the two countries (India-Iran) continues," Bezboruah told IANS.
India achieved the highest tea exports in 2017 after 36 years, exporting 251.91 million kgs in the last calendar year, up by 13.24 per cent from 222.45 million kgs exported during 2016.
"The exports growth this year would not be spectacular but it is expected to go up by 5 per cent in terms of volume, provided exports to Iran do not get disturbed," he said.
Indian exporters are keen to regain its market share in Kazakhstan which used to import significant volume of Indian tea earlier, he said.
Bezboruah exuded confidence that tea exports will continue to expand in the UAE, the US, China, Russia and the Middle East.
Notably, the country had exported 256.57 million kgs of tea in the last fiscal (2017-18), up by 12.71 per cent from 227.63 million kgs exported in the previous year (2016-17).
In the production front, the crop production was at 1,325.05 million kgs in the last fiscal, an increase of 74.56 million kgs as compared to 2016-17.
Production of the crop is expected to be higher this year as against last year though estimated April production at 85.74 million kgs was down by 7.21 per cent compared to year-ago month, he said.
In fact, estimated tea production stood at 177.94 million kgs during January-April period of 2018, down marginally compared to 181.32 million kgs produced in the corresponding period last year.