EghtesadOnline: More than 1,600 tons of tea were exported from Iran during the first quarter of the current Iranian year (March 21-June 21), Habibollah Jahansaz, the head of Iran Tea Organization, said.
Based on average tea export prices in the last Iranian year (March 2018-19), this amount of exports is estimated to be worth more than $2 million, ILNA reported.
According to the official, the main export destinations for Iranian tea during the period were India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Canada, Australia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Georgia, Young Journalists Club reported.
Jahansaz noted that since the beginning of the harvest season in spring, 66,000 tons of green tea leaves have been purchased by the government from local farmers for 2 trillion rials ($15.83 million)—unchanged compared with the similar period of last year, according to Financial Tribune.
“This is because precipitations during the past few weeks were low. Yet, our overall estimate shows green tea leaf production will rise by 10-15% to increase by the end of the harvest season to 120,000 tons.”
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.
At present, about 200,000 people in Iran have found direct employment in the tea industry that has 178 active factories.
Iranians consume about 5% of the total world tea production.
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.
“Tea production turnover in Gilan and Mazandaran currently stands at more than $63.3 million. Tea is considered a strategic product in these two provinces, in view of its significant impact on the rural and agricultural economy of the region,” said Jahansaz.
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.