The global tea industry
is largely dominated by India - the largest producer and consumer
of tea. India is followed by China, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Indonesia
in the production hierarchy of countries.
The tea industry is
peculiar: the soil characteristics, the climate and the rainfall
determine the character of the tea and its taste. Tea affects the
taste buds; therefore, it is difficult to replace a particular variety
with a substitute. This explains why certain types are favored by
certain countries : for example, the CIS countries favour Indian
and Sri Lankan teas. UK and Pakistan favour Kenyan teas.
India accounts for
30 per cent of world's production. While Sri Lanka, Kenya and Indonesia
are the other leading producers; their combined production is lower
than that of India. What makes India an interesting object of study
is that its size is no millstone around its neck; its production
growth between 1996 and 1998 at 5.63 per cent was way ahead of the
increase in world production of one per cent only.