India's tea industry is eyeing Russia with renewed interest after a gap of 10 years.
A delegation of Indian tea producers, merchant exporters and auctioneers is set to visit Russia, the world's fourth-largest tea consumer, next month, The Economic Times reported.
Exporters are looking at the entire Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, comprising former Soviet bloc countries, said Azam Monem, vice-chairman of Indian Tea Association.
"We are not only looking at Russia to increase our exports. Our aim is to increase our presence in the CIS region," said Monem."Russia and CIS are two traditional markets for Indian exports. But for long, we have not done much to develop these markets further so that more teas can be exported.With production increasing, we also need to develop export markets for our teas." Russia and CIS countries - including Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan - consume 200-220 million kg of tea annually. India exports 50 million kg to the region.
Russia was earlier an orthodox tea-consuming country but now it has also taken to CTC teas. Sri Lanka is the major exporter of tea to Russia and CIS, and it sends 6065 million kg to the region. Russia also imports teas from Kenya and Indonesia.
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