As the Indian tea industry has a realistic chance to achieve the $1 billion exports target in the next two-three years, it is important to seek the Centre's help for rationalisation of international MRL laws for the crop, an official of a tea exporters' body said on Friday.
Indian Tea Exporters' Association Chairman Anshuman Kanoria said it is also essential that the beverage produced for the overseas market is compliant with the safety regulations of importing countries.
''This is essential to uphold the quality image of Indian tea in international markets and make our tea the preferred one worldwide,'' he said.
MRLs are defined as the maximum concentration of pesticide residue likely to occur in food after the use of pesticides according to good agricultural practice. MRLs are primarily trading standards, but they also help ensure that residue levels do not pose unacceptable risks for consumers.
Recently, the Tea Board had said the export target needs to be raised by 50 per cent by tapping new countries and filling up the vacuum created by crisis-hit Sri Lanka in the global market.
India exported 195.90 million kg of tea in 2021. The major buyers were the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations, such as Russia, and Iran. The board is aiming at achieving 300 million kg of tea this year.
''Return of Indian export consignments is hardly any'', P K Bezboruah, former Tea Board chairman said. A senior official of the Tea Board told PTI that complaints have been received from tea packagers and exporters on the issue.
''It is reiterated that producers should strictly abide by the extant norms of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The issue of modification of the norms has been raised by the producer organisations with FSSAI. It is obvious that exports should adhere to the existing norms of the importing countries,'' the official said.
India shipped out tea worth Rs 5,246.89 crore in 2021.
(With PTI inputs)