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Assam tea industry to focus on export to ASEAN countries

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Guwahati: Assam’s tea industry will focus on increasing exports to ASEAN countries in view of the untapped markets there, an official of North Eastern Tea Association has said.

“All the ASEAN countries are tea-drinking nations, but barring a few, the others do not produce the beverage and as such there is immense potential of exporting Assam tea to these countries,” North Eastern Tea Association Chairman Biydanand Barkakoty told PTI.

“The ASEAN market is an untapped market for us and the ASEAN-India Trade Conclave here tomorrow will be a stepping stone for exploring new markets,” he said.

The Joint Forum of Assam Tea Planters’ Association, North Eastern Tea Association and Bharatiya Cha Parishad will be showcasing different varieties of Assam tea at the stall set up by the Assam Directorate of Tea at the conclave.

In 2011, India’s total production was 988 million kgs out of which Assam produced 508 million kgs, he said. Vietnam and Indonesia are leading tea producers among the ASEAN countries with Malaysia and Myanmar also contributing in a small way.

It has been, however, noticed that their contribution has decreased from 8.43 per cent to 7.43 per cent in the global tea production between 2009 and 2011, he said.

In the consumption side, Malaysia was the leading consumer followed by Philippines. Vietnam and Indonesia are the only exporting countries of ASEAN group, but their export share too have decreased from 13.23 per cent to 12.49 per cent during 2009-2011.

The India-ASEAN Trade Conclave focusing on business and cultural relations between North East India and South East Asian countries will be held at the Sarusajai stadium here on Monday.

The conclave, titled ‘ASEAN-India Connectivity with a focus on North East India’, would be chaired by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and will be also attended by CII President Adi Godrej, official sources said. (PTI)

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