“Indian tea industry - drivers and challeges”

Chandrasekaran G and Kumar A

The Indian tea industry is nearly 200 years old. Robert Bruce, a British national discovered tea plants growing in the upper Brahmaputra valley in Assam and adjoining areas. In 1838, Indian tea that was grown in Assam was sent to the UK for the first time, for public sale.
Tea in India is grown primarily in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Apart from this, it is also grown in small quantities in Karnataka, HP, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Sikkim and Meghalaya. India has a dual tea base, unlike most other tea exporting countries. Both CTC and Orthodox tea is produced in India. The tea industry is agro‐based and labour intensive. It provides direct employment to over 1 million persons. Through its forward and backward linkages another 10 million persons derive their livelihood from tea. In Northeast India alone, the tea industry employs around 900,000 persons on permanent rolls. It is one of the largest employers of women amonst organized industries in India. Women constitute nearly 51% of the total workforce. The tea estates in the North Eastern India are located in industrially backward areas. Tea being the only organised industry in the private sector in this region, people outside the tea estates have high expectations from the industry. This article analyses the regulatory environment, demand drivers of Indian Tea Industry in detail.

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