The tea Industry in India has a 170 years old history. The credit for creating India’s vast tea empire goes to the British, who discovered tea in India. The East India Company after losing its monopoly in China in 1832 has taken up cultivation of Tea in India (Assam) in 1834. The first commercial batch of Tea ever produced outside of China came from Assam in 1839. Since then, tea continues to be the most popular drink in India. From official conferences to railway station, tea (chai) remains the favorite hot beverage among Indians
The Tea Industry is one of the oldest organized firm sectors with a large network of tea producers, retailers, distributors, auctioneers, exporters and employees. India is one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of tea, which accounting for 27 percent of the world production and around 12–13 percent of the world tea export. Tea export from India during January, 2013 to September, 2013 has been 147 million Kgs. The industry employs around 1.27 million at the plantation work and 2 million people indirectly of which 50 percent are women workers (second largest employer in the organized sector after Indian Railway). In, India, there are about 1700 processing units engaged in tea production; while there are around 1671 big (more then 100 hectares) planters with an output of 700-725 million kgs. India’s large tea plantations are mostly concentrated in Assam and North-Bengal. Assam alone produces 51 percent of the national production. Total Tea production in India from January, 2013 – December, 2013 has been 1200.4 million kgs. Whereas World Tea production from January, 2013 – December, 2013 was 2155.6 million kgs. Tea import by India during January, 2013 to September, 2013 = 16.04 million Kgs
Tea production in India is expected to grow by around 5 per cent in 2014 due to adequate rains. Tea exports have picked up as well, with the tiny landlocked north-eastern State of Tripura inking a deal to export tea to Iran. India exports 12 million kg of tea to Iran each year. The Golakpur Tea Estate in Tripura has signed an agreement to export 10 tonnes of tea in the current financial year to an Iranian importer. Tripura hosts 58 tea gardens where 7.75 million kg of tea is grown every year on 13,372 hectares. Last year, the Manu Valley Tea estate of North Tripura sold a bulk consignment of green tea to the UK, Afghanistan and Pakistan.