Siliguri, May26 : After almost five months of negotiations, the Bengal chapter of Confederation of Indian Industry, (CII), has come to an understanding with a private company to export tea from India to the Republic of Bashkortostan also known as Bashkiriya.
Teastar, a company based in Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan located south of Ural range in Russia has agreed to buy 20 tonnes of orthodox tea from Bengal every month.
For over five decades, Russia (earlier Soviet Union) has been a major market for Indian tea, be it of Assam variety, Nilgiris or Darjeeling grown.
The tea that would be exported to Russia is black or orthodox tea or TGFOP (Tippy, grainy, flowery orange, pekoe) and FOP (flowery, orange, pekoe) grades.
The samples of the tea which were sent for confirmation as per Russian standards were approved.
The tea planters, processors and exporters feel that the deal with Russia is a significant development for the Darjeeling tea as well as the Indian tea industry.
Recently, Indian tea industry has been hit by high production costs and sluggish exports due to competition from producers such as China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Kenya. But now the Indian tea industry is hoping to cash in on the federal package and come out of woods.
"Tea export from India to Russia was stopped for quite a long time. Russia is now importing tea from Sri Lanka and Cuba. After more than a decade this deal has been signed, so once again Indian tea companies will be able to export tea to Russia and tea market will experience a boom," said G S Homa, Chairman of the Bengal Chapter of CII.
The first consignment of tea is expected to be exported in the month of June this year.
India is the world's largest producer and consumer of tea. Tea is cultivated on around 521,500 hectares of land in the country.