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Tea Board of India: How to register & get a tea export license?

Set up by the government of India, the Tea Board of India acts as an export promotion agency that promotes the growth of tea export market. Here’s a guide to understand its roles and responsibilities.
Tea Board of India
India is known for its range of tea – black, herbal, green, Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri and more – across the world. Interestingly, India is the 2nd largest producer of tea globally1. To promote the export of this largely produced beverage in India, the Tea Board of India was set up in 1954, under the Tea Act, 1953. Headquartered in Kolkata, the Tea Board of India has 15+ offices across the country2.

Role and functions of the Tea Board of India

With a vision to make India one of the leading producers and suppliers of quality tea in global markets, the Tea Board of India functions as a statutory body of the Central Government, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Below are a few functions and responsibilities of the tea board3:
Render technical help to tea farmers and cultivators for manufacturing and marketing quality tea.
Promote activities that strengthen tea export through workshops on new production, packaging and marketing techniques, tea quality inspection, and training programs.
Undertake research to improve tea production in India and related development activities.
Provide financial help to tea plantation workers through labour welfare schemes.
Provide member-manufacturers with technical advancements and spread required education to the unorganized sectors of small-scale tea growers. The objective of the Tea Board of India is to drive innovation in both qualitative as well as quantitative production of tea.
Conduct market surveys, analysis and statistics related to growth in tea exports from India.
Implement schemes assigned by the government in favour of the growth of tea exports.

Types of tea promoted under the Tea Board of India

The tea board promotes a variety of Indian types of tea like Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri, Sikkim and Tripura. Among these varieties – grown and exported from India, one of the most popular types is Darjeeling Tea. Since its establishment, the Tea Board of India has controlled the growing and exporting of Darjeeling Tea. The board has a dedicated team that preserves and authenticates the original Darjeeling Tea by assigning a unique logo (the Darjeeling logo) for it to be identified worldwide. The board has formulated a certification scheme to ensure its quality and avoid duplication. According to it, Darjeeling Tea can be referred to as a type of tea that:

• is grown in the tea gardens in defined geographical areas.
• is grown and produced in one of the 87 registered tea gardens in India.
• is processed and manufactured in a factory located in the registered geographical area.
• has the characteristic smell, taste, and aroma like the authentic Darjeeling tea, when tasted by assigned tea testers.

Licenses issued by the Tea Board of India

1.

License for using land as a new tea estate

Tea cultivators who want to grow tea on virgin soil must register as a newcomer, as per the rules of the tea board. Their land needs to be registered as a new tea estate by submitting an application on the official website.

2.

Tea waste control license

This license is issued to reduce the misuse of tea waste to make sure that tea waste gets dumped safely and useful residues are utilized for other purposes. The applicant must apply through the official website of the Tea Board of India to obtain this license.

3.

Exporter license

This is one of the key licenses required to export tea from India – a valid exporter license according to the Tea Control Order, 1957. The applicant must fill and submit the exporter license application Form A on the official website of the Tea Board of India, following the required regulations.

4.

Tea Warehouse License

To store tea in a warehouse, an exporter is required to obtain a Tea Warehouse License from the board.

5.

Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC)

To export tea from India, an RCMC from the Tea Board is mandatory4.

Step-by-step guide to register with the Tea
Board of India

Like other export promotion councils in India, the Tea Board of India also issues an RCMC to its registered members and exporters. This is an important document required to export tea from India.

Documents required for RCMC

Some of the documents required for obtaining RCMC from the Tea Board of India are:
• Application form in suggested format with required details
• Import Export Code (IEC) issued by DGFT
• Application fees as required

How to apply for RCMC

As a seller or exporter, you can obtain RCMC online on the eGICCS (eGovernance Initiatives for Citizen Centric Services) portal5.
  • Visit the eGICCS website and submit your email address, contact details and business name to login.
  • Fill form 19-A and 19-B, and create a DD/cheque for the registration fee in favour of ‘TEA BOARD’.
  • Submit your IEC and other required documents as mentioned in the application form.
The RCMC registration is usually issued within two working days from the date of receipt of the application after verification.
Once you’ve obtained an RCMC, you can export tea from India using ecommerce, which makes your global expansion journey simple and easy. With Amazon Global Selling – an ecommerce exports program, you can sell tea internationally from India across 200+ countries and territories, including international marketplaces in the USA, UK, Germany, UAE, Australia, Japan and more. By providing assistance in inventory, storage, international shipping and export documentation, Amazon Global Selling enables tea exporters to expand smoothly to new regions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tea Board certificate?
The Tea Board certificate issued by the board is its Registration-cum-Membership Certificate (RCMC), which allows sellers to export tea from India. You can obtain this certificate online on the eGICCS (eGovernance Initiatives for Citizen Centric Services) portal.
How can I get an FSSAI tea license?
FSSAI is a food safety license – important for tea business operators including manufacturers, packers and exporters, among others6. Depending on the nature and size of the business, there are three different types of FSSAI licenses granted – basic, state, and central. To know how to obtain this, read here.
What are the documents required to export tea from India?
To export tea from India, an exporter is required to obtain a few documents like IEC, AD code, GST Letter of Undertaking, RCMC from the Tea Board of India and FDA labelling guidelines, among others. To assist exporters in understanding and obtainaing these licenses, Amazon launched the Exports Compliance Dashboard.
Published on March 22, 2022.

Sources:
1. https://www.ibef.org/exports/indian-tea-industry.aspx
2. http://www.teaboard.gov.in/TEABOARDCSM/NA
3. http://www.teaboard.gov.in/
4. http://www.teaboard.gov.in/pdf/GUIDELINES_FOR_RENEWAL_OF_TEA_WASTE_LICENCE_pdf6320.pdf
5. http://egiccs.teaboard.gov.in/
6. https://fssaiindia.in/fssai-food-safety-license-registration-for/tea-powder-manufacturer/
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*Map not to scale. The map has been used for design and representational purpose only, it does not depict the geographical boundaries of the country. These do not conform to the external boundaries of India recognized by the Survey of India.

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