EghtesadOnline: In a letter to First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri, Minister of Agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati has urged all governmental executive bodies to meet their tea demand from domestic sources.
The move is aimed at helping the market thrive and allaying tea producers' concerns regarding sales, ILNA reported.
No pesticide is used in tea farms of Iran and therefore Iranian tea is the healthiest worldwide, the letter reads.
In Iran, tea is served on most occasions and in workplaces, according to Financial Tribune.
According to figures released by Tehran Governorate, more than 3,600 executive bodies and close to 247,000 general offices and institutions are active in Iran, which employ around 4 million people. If each employee were to satisfy half of their demand for tea (750 grams, as per capita tea consumption in Iran stands at 1.5 kg) in office, then a market as big as 3,000 tons will be created for Iranian tea, the Persian daily Shahrvand reported.
The figure accounts for almost 10% of domestic tea production.
According to Mohammad Vali Rouzbehan, the head of Iran Tea Organization, the government purchased more than 139,000 tons of fresh tea leaves worth 2.34 trillion rials (close to $62 million) from local farmers, of which 31,200 tons of dried tea were produced in the last Iranian year that ended on March 20, 2017.
"Tea production registered a 60% increase [compared to the previous year], marking a record high in the last seven years," he told Financial Tribune earlier in an interview.
About 110,000 tons of dried tea, worth between $550 million and $600 million (based on global prices and if it was all to be imported), says the official, are consumed in Iran annually.
"Last year, we succeeded in producing over $150 million worth of the product and the rest amounting to 80,000 tons were imported or smuggled into the country. We also managed to decrease imports by $50 million," he said.
Rouzbehan believes that around 40,000 tons of contraband tea are imported into Iran every year.
There are around 29,000 hectares and 3,200 hectares of tea plantations in Gilan and Mazandaran provinces respectively, both in northern Iran, generating some 100,000 jobs. This is exclusive of jobs in the fields of tea processing and distribution.
Between 160 and 170 tea processing factories are active across the country, which are currently working below their capacities.