Domestic tea demand up 67 percent in November
December 05, 2012
MOHAMMAD BILAL TAHIR
Domestic demand for black tea increased with the advent of cold weather, the commodity’s import posted nearly 67 percent hike in November this year against imports recorded in the corresponding month last year. Tea imports surged by $40.49 million in November 2012, up from tea worth $21.26 million imported in the same period last year.
Pakistan imported 14.01 million kilograms of black tea valuing Rs 3,907 million during the same month against 8.4 million kilograms worth Rs 1,866 million imported in the same period last year. Pakistan imports tea from 21 countries and the major portion is imported from Kenya. During the period under review, 51.46 percent of the total quantity of tea was imported from Kenya against 50.78 percent imported in the corresponding period last year.
Pakistan meets its green tea requirement from five countries among which Indonesia and Vietnam take the lion’s share, but in November this year, Pakistan imported green tea only from Vietnam. Packers and blenders said that cold weather was a major reason behind the sharp increase in tea imports, adding that tea consumption had also increased. They said that a cut in sales tax on imports to 16 percent from 19 percent was another key factor encouraging traders to import tea in bulk quantity.
Industry sources said that because of stricter border restrictions, tea smuggling via Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) had also been substantially reduced which also boosted legal imports. They said that the government was losing revenue of $100-120 million because of smuggling via Afghanistan. The price of a kilogram of imported tea bags, depending on grade, was $2.89. On the other hand, black tea varieties posted a steep price rise ranging between 10 and 12 percent per kilogram during the past five months.