- Indian Tea faces Rejections across globe due to excess pesticide. Tea is a common beverage in India. In the early 1820’s the British East India Company began large-scale production of tea in Assam, India of a tea variety traditionally brewed by the Singpho tribe.
- India was among the top tea producers for nearly a century but China has overtaken India as the top tea producer due to increased land availability. Tea was only delivered through the British in the course of the 18th century.
- They shipped it from China and later installed huge tea plantations across the country. The idea changed into to break the Chinese monopoly on tea i.e. to grow the beverage in India and ship it again to Britain. And to this end, they offered land in Assam to any European who agreed to domesticate tea for export.
- Historians argue that human beings in India had been already acquainted with tea, even before the British popularized it. However, business production simplest took off within the 18th and nineteenth centuries.
- And tea became a popular beverage most of the masses best after Independence — in large part thanks to the efforts of the Tea Board — who aggressively advertised the product.
- In 2021, India exported 195.90 million kg tea. The major buyers were Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations and Iran.
The Indian Tea is missing Opportunity
Sri Lanka is facing economic crisis .Sri Lanka’s tea exports was around $1.3billion annually. Tea exports from the country alone accounted for over 50% of the global trade.
But because of the economic crisis in the nation exports have fell down to 23 year low, creating a deficit in the global market. India being the second largest producer of tea and everyone expect India to step up.
India is setting back due to certain points.
- Iran and Taiwan rejected India’s export consignments citing Phytosanitary issues as they found pesticides beyond the permissible limit.
- Such rejections are effecting India. Tea plantations in India is more effected due to the use of pesticides which range about 5% to 55% due to pests, diseases and weeds. These problems have increased in the recent years one such reason being climate change.
- Assam is facing rising temperature and this has caused impacts on pest lifecycles. Some of them can survive in winter.
- In order to deal with the pest issue potent plant protection formulas are being adopted which is a cocktail of pesticides used to improve crop yield and quality.
- But this practice is increasing plant toxicity. It is becoming unsuitable and dangerous for consumption. The samples of branded packages of tea contained DDT and monocroptophos which are compounds.
- So Iran and Taiwan rejected such shipments. Here Phyto sanitary means plant hygiene and health. Tea exports failed to meet certain conditions mentioned such as food additives , pesticide residue , heavy metals, filth or dirt, microbiological condition.
- Exporters observed that about 95% of the shipment was rejected due to presence of Quinalphos which is a pesticide used widely across tea plantations. Such pesticide usage is harmful for organs and can lead to failure. Due to different countries observing different standards it becomes difficult for the exporters to meet the standards. Taiwan follows all the standards very strictly.
- The Federation of All India Traders Association found out that tea auctioned domestically failed to meet parameters set by the Food Safety and Standards Act and Regulations. The Association found out that there is a high usage of pesticides around 15% to 40%.
Steps taken by Indian Government
- The Tea Board, which functions under the commerce ministry, has asked tea producers and sellers to strictly comply with the FSSAI quality norms before selling the product.
- It has also instructed authorities not to release tea consignments from the warehouses if they failed to qualify the FSSAI test parameters.
- A compilation of international laws would restrict usage of almost every pesticide, and there are huge discrepancies in laboratory results, with each stating that results are subject to +/- 50 per cent error margin. In such an environment, a lab failure is more of a legislative rejection rather than a reflection of safety
The Pesticide MRL is a serious issue concerning the Indian Tea Exporters. With more and more stringent laws due to Western and European countries Indian Tea Exports are getting effected. So Indian Tea companies needs to follow the rules and standards set , to take advantage of The Sri Lankan Crisis and increase the exports So at present Governments of most countries are approaching the Western and European countries to set realistic standard for Food items and Tea. The positives results for exporters is awaited.