Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tea Exports: From bulk to brands

India is established as bulk exporter of tea since a long time. In order to turn over to value added form The Tea Board is encouraging producers to promote brands in foreign markets. The country has failed in creating specific brands abroad with emphasis on fine blending. The constituents of majority of International blends contain leaves from India. Ironically the blends are being sold under foreign brands with no hint of India at all.       

Indian Tea Board plans to encourage tea producers to export premium tea that carry value addition. Premium black teas from Assam and Darjeeling tea from West Bengal have already created a niche in the global markets.  

Already major players like Wagh Bakri are pushing their flagship brands over board. The production capacity and blending expertise that the company has is leading success outside by leaps and bounds. 

The Indian tea Board is a statutory body under the aegis of Central Government Ministry of Commerce. The functions of this board is defined n the website as follows:

Tea Industry in India

Historically introduction of tea in India is a recent phenomenon. The beverage was introduced by the British during their rule in order to counter expanding Chinese tea industry. The British procured seeds of the tea plant from China and introduced it in Eastern India mainly in the state of Assam and West Bengal. The cultivation later spread to the Nilgiris in Southern India in the Western Ghats region.  

The introduction of tea consumption was initiated by the British. This led to inculcation of tea into Indian lifestyle. Today tea is widely consumed all over the country. After China, India is the largest producer of tea leaf in the World. The growth in terms of consumption a well as production has been tremendous. The country also exports the leaf to the tune of 2000 crores per year. 

The benefit has accrued from increased production and exports in terms of revenue generation. The industry is labor intensive hence offers jobs to a million laborers of which half are women. The cultivation in India takes place mainly in Assam, Darjeeling in West Bengal and the Nilgiri in the South.

A large number of tea estates are established in these regions. Most of the processing and packaging factories are also established within these estates or tea gardens as they are called. As in earlier times loose tea was circulated commonly before established brands came into the picture. Loose tea market in India is still substantial but the brand popularity has increased tremendously. 

The popularity of brands has introduced varied forms of tea blended to perfection. Black leaf from Assam is most popular but slowly premium varieties are also making their presence felt. Green tea and organic tea are also becoming popular. Besides the aromatic leaf from Darjeeling though expensive also finds consumers in India and abroad. 

Some of  the leading brands in India are:
Wagh Bakri Tea
Lipton Tea
Brook Bond
These brands have a large share of the packet tea market in India. Innovative packaging and fine art of blending various leaves has lead to increasing popularity of branded tea in India.                     

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Silk Business in India

Derived from the cocoon of the silkworm the fibers are woven into classic fabrics used as garments throughout the history. These garments were in the possession of the rich in earlier times but they can be afforded by the common man in the contemporary era.  

Hence the popularity of silk garments and fabrics is rising world wide. The product is not only used in making high fashion garments it is also popular among home furnishing items. Silk especially Dupioni Silk is used in making designer bedsheets, comforter sets, drapery and decorative pillows.   

Almost all of the silk production in India takes places in the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka and West Bengal. The sericulture is prevalent in India since the Indus Valley Civilization in India. With the advance in production of silk weaving as a profession also developed in the country.  

Assam, South India, Gujarat and Malwa where important weaving centers using wide varieties of silk.  In the modern times pure silk usage has been reduced. The use of handlooms and powerlooms has also brought in dynamic changes in the industry.

The major products range from saris to contemporary garments created by fashion designers in India. The fabric as well as designer dresses are exported to many countries. While traditional varieties of silk are still in use Dupioni Silk takes precedent for home furnishings, interiors and fashion garments. Large quantities of Dupioni silk fabric is exported to many countries.  

The sericulture industry is at the forefront of job creation in India. With encouragement accorded by many Indian States more income opportunities will be created.