Tea Prices Set to Soar With India Ban

Tea prices were expected to rise by as much as 30 percent after a ban on Indian plant products came into effect Monday, although special regulations may be introduced for tea and coffee imports.

The Federal Service for Veterinarian and Vegetation Sanitary Supervision introduced the ban after a shipment of sesame seeds was found to contain Khapra beetles, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported Saturday.

The country's tea stocks are sufficient to last a month, after which there would be significant difficulties because Russia gets one-third of its tea from India, the newspaper said.

Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Saturday that the insects could cause 5.5 billion rubles ($225 million) worth of damage if they infested the country's stocks and that prices could rise 20 to 30 percent.

Ramaz Chanturia, deputy head of the Russian Tea and Coffee Association, said Thursday that an agreement had been reached with the watchdog about special regulation for tea and coffee, Interfax reported. He said the relevant documents had been drawn up and that he hoped they would be approved Monday.