EghtesadOnline: Iran exported 16,326 tons of tea worth $19 million to 37 countries in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19), which shows an 11.4% and 2.3% rise in weight and value respectively compared with the previous year, the head of Iran Tea Organization said.
The main export destinations, according to Jahansaz, were India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Canada, Australia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Mehr News Agency reported.
“At present, about 200,000 people in Iran have found direct employment in the tea industry. There are 178 related factories across the country,” he said.
Iranians consume about 5% of the total world tea production, Financial Tribune reported.
This year’s tea harvest season in Iran ended on Oct. 22 and 112,000 tons of fresh tea leaves worth 2.2 trillion rials ($15 million) were bought from farmers.
“Despite the frost that set in during the spring and the water shortage this year, production saw a 4% increase in weight compared with last year. The production of dried and processed tea reached 20,600 tons,” Jahansaz said.
The government has a guaranteed purchase system in place for many crops, including tea, to build up its strategic reserves and control prices in the domestic market.
Tea undergoes three harvests a year: the spring harvest that starts in late April, the second in summer begins early June and the last one is in autumn and starts late September.
Tea is cultivated in Iran’s northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran where 50,000 families earn their livelihood from tea farming on more than 25,000 hectares. Close to 95% of tea orchards in Iran are rain-fed.
Domestic production meets 20,000-25,000 tons of domestic tea demand annually which, according to Iran's Tea Association, stands at 120,000 tons per year.
The association says that of the remaining 100,000 tons, about 80,000 tons are imported via legal channels and the rest is brought in by smugglers.
Sri Lanka is the biggest tea exporter to Iran with around 50,000 tons per year followed by India with 30,000 tons.