India’s tea exports to the UAE, which have shown a consistent increase, are expected to receive a boost by the fourth edition of The Golden Leaf India Awards: Southern Tea Competition, which will be held in Dubai in February.
According to the Tea Board of India, exports to the UAE from January to May 2007 stood at 14.09 million kilograms as compared to 9.13m kg during the same period in 2006. In 2004, the total volume of tea exported from India to the UAE was 25.6m kg, while in 2005 it was 26.54m kg. This was even in the wake of a general decline in the volume of Indian tea exports globally.
In a bid to further increase the market penetration of Indian tea in the region, especially of the south Indian varieties, the United Planters Association of South India (Upasi) and the Tea Board of India are jointly organising the event, which will be held for the second time in Dubai. It will coincide with the second Global Dubai Tea Forum 2008, being organised by Dubai Tea Trading Centre (DTTC) from February 19. More than 220 entries have registered for the competition, and the final screening will take place on February 18 at the Hyatt Regency in Dubai.
N Dharmaraj, convenor of the event’s organising committee, said Indian tea exports to the UAE have shown a significant increase, which could be attributed to the event’s first edition held here in 2006. “Ever since the introduction of the event, good quality South Indian tea has been able to penetrate into new markets.
“There has also been an increase in the quality of tea exported to the United States. Quality South Indian tea have also found their way into Iran, which is a quality-conscious market for orthodox tea,” he said.
The first level of screening for the competition in Dubai will be organised on February 2 in Coonoor, India, by a panel of national experts, which will be followed by technical analysis for European Union standards for pesticide residues and heavy metals, as well as compliance to ISO 3720 standards.
R Sanjith, Head of Commodities at Upasi, said Dubai has been chosen as the venue because the UAE has been a consistently expanding the export market for Indian tea in the past 10 years. “While there was a general decline in Indian tea exports to international markets, the UAE continued to be a growing market for us.
“Moreover, competition is expected to give South India producers a much-needed exposure in the global market,” he said. Sanjith added that one of the other main objectives of the event was to remove the stigma attached to South Indian teas as inferior in quality and also raise awareness among major tea producers.
Priya Kumar, Director for Tea Promotion at the Tea Board of India, said the event is an apt platform to showcase the best teas from South India and its quality to the international market.
“Dubai is the place where a cross-section of the world market will be present and the tea estates of South India will have an opportunity to get maximum exposure,” Kumar added.
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