How to start a Tea Export Business?

  • June 01, 2024
  • Dushyant Sharma
Want to know More ?

After water, tea is the world’s most consumed beverage. Tea has a lot of health benefits including weight loss, reduced risk of heart disease & type 2 diabetes. 


India is one of the largest tea exporting countries in the world. Tea grown in Assam, Nilgiri and Darjeeling are famous all over the world. If you’re wondering about how you can start a tea export business, this article will serve as a guide for you.

Origination of Tea

Tea is said to have been first discovered in China, in 2737 BC, by the Chinese Emperor Shennong. The Emperor was a herbalist. According to the legend, the Emperor’s servant accidentally made a herbal mix while he was boiling water due to the leaves of a wild tree that fell in it. Due to the pleasant aroma of the herbal mix, he decided to drink it and was keen to learn about everything regarding the herbal mix. This is how the tea was discovered.


Although the world’s first tea originated in China, many countries around the world harvest tea on their own lands. The Englishmen are famous for their “English Breakfast” tea, but did you know that the first tea used in England was from China? In the year of 1823, Indian tea was sold in London for the very first time. 


India is one of the largest tea producers in the world. The tea was introduced to the country by the silk caravans that had traveled from China from Europe hundreds of years ago. Camellia Sinensis (the scientific name of the tea plant) is also native to India and used to grow in the wild before its true worth was discovered. The leaves of the tea plant would be used by the native Indians as part of their diet, mostly for its medicinal benefits.  

Discovery of Tea in India

It was the British who officially introduced tea to India. They wanted to overcome China's monopoly of tea production. They realized that the Indian soil and weather were suitable for the cultivation of tea plants. So they planned to develop a tea garden in India. The great English botanist Sir Joseph Banks in 1776 recommended tea cultivation to take place in India. In 1780, Robert KYD experimented with tea cultivation in the country using seeds from a consignment stated to have come from China. After a few decades, tea plants were discovered to have been growing wildly in Assam’s Brahmaputra Valley by Robert Bruce. The First Indian tea (cultivated in Assam) was sent to English for public sale in May, 1823.

Tea Board of India

By an act of Parliament, the tea industry comes under the control of the Union Government. The Tea Board of India’s origin dates back to 1908 when the Indian Tea Cell Bill was passed. This bill provided for levying a cess on the export of tea, the proceeds of which were to be utilized in the promotion of Indian tea both within India and outside it. 


Tea Board of India is administered by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and is headquartered in Kolkata. The Board promotes tea production and its export. It works towards boosting the Indian tea industry’s growth by conducting export promotion activities, international trade fairs and exhibitions. It also acts as an agency for tea export’s promotion and supports the domestic tea market’s development. 

Registration-cum-Membership Certificate (RCMC) from the Tea Board of India

If you’re planning to export tea from India, you need to obtain Registration-cum-Membership Certificate (RCMC) from the Tea Board of India. The RCMC is issued by the Board for the export of the following types and grades of tea products:

  • Bulk Tea
  • Packet tea
  • Teabags
  • Instant Tea

Documents required for the Grant of the RCMC from the Tea of Board 

Now that you know that RCMC is necessary for tea export, let’s find out the documents which are required for the grant of this certificate from the Tea Board of India. The following documents are required to be submitted to the Tea Board for RCMC: 

  • Duly filled Application form in the prescribed format along with the seal and date of the proprietor, Director, and other authorized signatories (as the case may be). 
  • Copy of Import Export Code (IEC) from DGFT. 
  • Copy of Tea Board’s Exporter License 
  • Company Registration


The RCMC Registration issued by the Tea Board of India is free of charge. This registration is generally issued within a period of 2 working days from the date of application’s receipt in Head Office. If the application is submitted in the Zonal/Regional Offices of the Tea Board of India, the RCMC registration is issued within 10 working days. However, it is necessary to note that the application must be submitted in a complete manner, and should not contain any errors which can delay the issuance of RCMC.

Is It Mandatory To Obtain An Import Export Code (IEC)?

Import Export Code (IEC) Registration, issued by DGFT, is a crucial document for the export of tea from India. It is a legal permit which needs to be applied for by every exporter and then obtained before they can begin with overseas trade. To obtain IEC, an application and prescribed fees need to be submitted. Company registration, Proof of Identity and Types of product(s) to be exported are some common requirements/prerequisites which need to be uploaded online at the time of filing.

The Indian Tea Industry

In the 1840s, the Indian tea industry started to take shape. The tea plants which were first tested in Assam were tested in higher elevated regions such as Kangra Valley and Darjeeling. Tea plantations in Darjeeling officially started in 1841 after successful testing. 


The tea industry in India has thrived post-British era. The Tea City of India, Dibrugarh is situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra river in upper Assam. It is the fourth largest town after Guwahati and accounts for almost 50% of Assam tea. In 2021, Indian tea made history because of the highest ever production and exports of all time recorded at 1325.05 million kgs and 256.57 million kgs respectively (As stated by the Tea Board of India). 


According to Harvard, those who consume 2-3 cups of tea daily have a reduced risk of premature death, stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Apart from the benefits provided by tea, it is also pleasing to the taste buds. This is why it is undoubtedly the second most consumed beverage in the world. The tea export industry has been growing rapidly. Therefore, starting a tea export business can be profitable. However, before initiating the business of tea export, the exporters are required to fulfill certain requirements such as company registration, IEC, RCMC, etc. to be in compliance with the rules and regulations regarding export tea business. For guidance on how to go about, reach out to Registrationwala.

  • Share This Post

Dushyant Sharma
Author: Dushyant Sharma

Hey there, I'm Dushyant Sharma. With the extensive knowledge I've gained in past 8 years, I have been creating content on various subjects such as banking, insurance, telecom, and all the important registration and licensing processes for various companies. I'm here to help everyone with my expertise in these areas through my articles.

Related Posts

to our newsletter