EghtesadOnline: Over 42,300 tons of tea worth around $195 million were imported into Iran during the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Dec. 21, 2018), latest data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show.
India and Sir Lanka were the biggest exporters. Other main exporters of tea to Iran during the period were Turkey, Germany, China, Japan, Vietnam, Kenya, Poland and the UAE, Mizan Online reported.
“The rupee-rial trade between India and Iran will help Indian tea exporters," Vivek Goenka, chairman of Indian Tea Association, said recently.
In the backdrop of US sanctions on Iran, Sri Lanka might find it difficult to trade with Iran as their business is conducted in dollars, according to the Economic Times.
Under a rupee payment mechanism to circumvent US-imposed sanctions, Indian refiners make payments in rupee for oil imports from Iran, to designated accounts maintained with UCO Bank of India. A portion thus received is to be used by Iran to pay for imports from India, Financial Tribune reported.
Iran consumes about 5% of the total world tea production.
Between January and November last year, India exported 27.26 million kg of orthodox teas, worth Rs 671.69 crore (about $94 million), to Iran.
“We could have easily crossed 30 million kg in 2018 had there been no confusion over the US sanctions on Iran,” said Azam Monem, director of tea company Mcleod Russel India.
After the US announced plans of implementing an embargo on Iran last year, Indian tea exporters, wary of the situation, halted some of the shipments and some tea producers switched to CTC from orthodox tea.
Iran normally buys second flush orthodox tea from India.
Sri Lanka is a major exporter of orthodox teas to Iran.
Iran also exports tea. It exported 12,600 tons to 34 countries since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21, 2018), Habibollah Jahansaz, the head of Iran Tea Organization, said in January.
Based on the H1 tea export prices, this amount of export is estimated to have been worth around $16.8 million.
According to the official, India, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Australia, France, Canada, Spain, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Georgia were the main export destinations for Iranian tea over the nine-month period, ILNA reported.
This year’s tea harvest season ended on Oct. 22 and a total of 112,000 tons of fresh tea leaves worth more than 2.2 trillion rials (around $15 million) were bought from farmers.
Despite the frost that set in during the spring and the water shortage in the current year, production saw a 4% increase in weight compared with last year. The dried and processed tea amounted to 20,600 tons.
Iranians consume around 105,000 tons of tea annually.
Tea is cultivated in Iran’s northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran where 50,000 families earn their living from tea farming on more than 25,000 hectares. Close to 95% of tea orchards in Iran are rain-fed.