New Delhi: Pakistan has emerged as a leading market for Indian tea, particularly the CTC variety of black tea, with India exporting around 20 million tonne of the beverage to the neighbouring country in 2011.

The inroads made by Indian tea into Pakistan this year have been helped by a decline in tea production in Kenya, which has a dominant share of the tea market there.

"Export of Indian tea has grown from one million tonne 10 years ago to about 20 million tonne in 2011," Indian Tea Association Joint Secretary S Patra said.

"In fact, Pakistan has emerged as leading market for Indian black tea, leaving behind traditional destinations like Russia, the UK, US and Germany," Patra said.

CTC is machinery processed tea, usually produced in Assam, Sri Lanka and parts of Africa and South America. Processing of this tea has three stages (crush, tear, curl; or cut, tear, curl), hence the name 'CTC'.

Black tea is of two types -- CTC and orthodox. Indian orthodox tea is popular in Iran and Iraq.

In India, tea is grown in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Soumitro Banerjee, a senior executive of Kolkata-based Goodricke Group Limited, said easing of restrictions in Pakistan due to recent efforts by governments of the two countries have facilitated the smoother entry of Indian tea into Pakistani markets, particularly in Karachi.

Patra said the trend has been helped by a decline in tea production in Kenya and also due to sustained efforts of the association to market its tea in the neighbouring country.

"Things have improved now after visit of many trade delegations from the two nations to each other to convince the merit of its produce (tea)," Patra added.

As per a report, Kenya's share of the Pakistani tea market is about 65 percent. Till recently, India's share was just 15 percent, but it has now gone up.

"But the Indian share is now going up in Pakistan very fast," Patra said.

Patra said the Indian Tea Association manages almost 65 percent of Indian tea exports, which total around 200 million tonne.

(Agencies)