Tea is one of the signature commodities produced in India. Some of the world's finest teas are produced in India. Major demand of world tea imports is fulfilled from India.
Cultivation, processing, trading and exports of tea lead to an organized industry. The Indian tea industry generates huge employment and profitably as it meets the global demand.
Indian government has taken special efforts to promote tea. Tea Board of India is the government body which is working in all areas of the value chain, right from cultivation to end user consumption of tea in India.
As per ITC data 2018, India has exported $763 Million worth of Tea in FY 2018-19. Despite high base, the trade has witnessed a YoY Growth of 5% for 2014 to 2018. India is the 2nd largest producer and exporter of tea in the world.
Tea export from India is one of the key businesses for many Indian tea suppliers.
Beginners guide for Tea export from India.
Mandatory Documents/ registrations
For exporting Tea from India, following registrations are mandatory -
Legal entity (Proprietorship/ Partnership/ Pvt Ltd/ Public Ltd)
PAN Card (In the name of legal entity)
GST (Goods and Service Tax) certificate
Current account with Bank ( Preferably Nationalized or Private)
IEC ( Importer Exporter Code)- issued by DGFT
Exporters License from Tea Board of India
FSSAI Exporters License ( Central FSSAI License)
An individual aspiring to start the export business as a trader in tea has to obtain these documents to commence the business.
Once all the registrations are ready, one can initiate communication with potential buyers or importers of tea in the target country. Once the buyers are identified and the discussions are in process, tea suppliers send a sample of the tea (s) to the buyer.
Guide to sending tea sample by courier
Sending the tea sample through courier is a very critical process, as most courier operators do not accept loose tea as shipment without documents.
In order to send the sample of tea by courier from India, following documents are to be given -
Invoice (As per the format required by importing countries Customs)
Phytosanitary certificate (Issued by Plants & Quarantine Department)
Certificate of Origin (Issued by Chamber of Commerce)
Certain countries like Ukraine ask to write the content on the packet in Ukrainian language
Some countries like Czech Republic and Costa Rica require exporters to pay the custom duty even for the free sample/ items sent for personal consumption.
Inappropriate documentation for sending samples lead to clearance delays or rejections by customs in some cases. Hence for a hassle-free custom clearance process, appropriate documentation is a must. Once the sample is received & approved by the buyer ,the commercial terms are discussed & agreed upon.
Pre- shipment certifications for Tea
COA ( Certificate of Analysis)
Lab Tests ( Microbial, Heavy Metals , Pesticides Levels)
RA Certification (Rainforest Alliance certificate) – Occasionally required
When the consignment reaches the port of the importing country, it needs to fulfil the import norms of that country. Some countries like Germany, Netherlands, USA etc have very stringent parameters for the import of food items.
In order to avoid rejection, tea exporters from India are advised to carry out COA ( Certificate of Analysis) or Laboratory tests from NABL accredited lab in India. These generally cover various parameters like nutrient content, heavy metals, microbial analysis, residue levels. MRL (Maximum Residue Level) is the key parameter for acceptance or rejection of tea consignment from India.
The laboratory tests results should be shared with the buyer prior to shipment from India. Only after securing the buyer's approval, the consignment should be loaded.
Fulfilling these criteria will make the end to end shipment a smooth process, Tea suppliers from India are now working towards expanding their presence from the traditional markets like Russia, UAE, USA to new territories in Europe like Czech Republic, Poland and the Baltic nations.
Strictly following the required quality parameters will make sure the buyer is satisfied and only the best product reaches foreign ports, leading to long term repeat business.