Even as Pakistan seeks to double tea imports from India by 2015, the Pakistan Tea Association (PTA) has urged tea producers in South India to improve quality to increase their presence in a market dominated by Kenyan teas.
Almost the entire 24 million kg of tea exported to Pakistan from India last year was from the south.
According to PTA chairman Mohammad Hanif Janoo, there would be room for growth, but the association was interested in better teas.
A PTA official said the portion of quality teas exported from south India to Pakistan was quite small and there was a perception that only poor quality teas were exported from south India.
Though input prices had increased sharply, the Pakistani market got teas priced at Rs40-45 per kg from south India, according to Janoo. He said the opportunity to expand existed but average prices had to rise up to the same level as East Africa (teas). The average price realisation for teas from the south was less than half that of its main competitor Kenya.
According to a senior United Planters' Association of South India official, tea exports to Pakistan had, though continued to grow and exports that were to the tune of only 5-10 million kg two years ago, had risen at a fast clip.