KOLKATA: Indian tea exports to Egypt have surged after Egypt slashed import duties, a senior Tea Board official said on Friday.
India, the world s largest producer and consumer of tea, exported just 70,000 kg of the commodity to Egypt last year, but in the first six months of 2006 sales zoomed to 1 million kg, Indian officials said.
We are expecting to increase exports to Egypt to 10 million kg in a couple of years, Basudeb Banerjee, chairman of the Tea Board told Reuters in Kolkata.
He has just returned from Cairo where he agreed with Egyptian officials to target a figure of 3 million kg in exports in the year to December.
India is looking to boost sales in Asia and Africa and is a major CTC tea producer, the tea most in demand in Egypt.
Cairo cut duties recently for imports from countries outside Africa after lengthy lobbying by countries like India, almost leveling the playing field with major producer Kenya.
The duties have come down to just five percent and talks with our counterparts in Egypt were very positive, and have cleared all the road blocks, Banerjee added.
Total tea exports from India rose by 6.63 percent in August from the same month a year earlier, reaching 15.91 million kg from 14.92 million kg in August 2005, Tea Board officials said.
Exports rose 26.89 percent in July as traders sold large amounts of tea from last year s stocks, and August s smaller increase was largely due to drought and then heavy rains at the wrong time, Banerjee said.
He said India was still well placed to take advantage of lower output from Kenya in the first quarter of the year, when the industry was badly hit by a lack of rain. Export markets in Pakistan and Iran were growing significantly.
India s tea production in August registered 7.11 percent growth from a year earlier to 120.4 million kg from 112.4 million kg in 2005.