EghtesadOnline: A total of 575 tons of tea worth $493,785 were exported from Iran to 12 countries during the first quarter of the current Iranian year (March 20-July 20), according to the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.
“Iraq, with more than 183,000 tons worth $237,500, was the biggest customer of Iranian tea over the period. It was followed by Kazakhstan with 112,000 tons worth $126,009, Afghanistan with 69,000 tons, Germany with 37 tons, India with 35 tons, Tajikistan with 29 tons, Russia with 12 tons, Uzbekistan with 10 tons and Turkey with 6 tons,” Rouhollah Latifi was also quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
The official did not mention the three other export destinations for Iranian tea in spring. He noted that tea imports over the same period stood at 14,354 tons worth $68.89 million.
“Iran imported tea from 14 countries during the three-month period. With more than 8,000 tons worth $38.81 million, India was the biggest exporter of tea to Iran followed by Sri Lanka with $13 million and the UAE with $11 million,” he added.
Latifi said IRICA figures show Iran imports between 60,000 and 70,000 tons of tea every year, noting that global tea trade amounts to around $42 billion per annum.
Some 50 countries cultivate tea and more than 3 billion people across 160 countries are regular consumers of the herbal drink.
China, Sri Lanka, Kenya and India are the main producers of tea and Russia, the US, the UK, Egypt, Pakistan and Iran are the biggest consumers of the product.
Production Rises 16% as Harvest Continues
A total of 78,125 tons of green tea leaves have been purchased by the government from local farmers so far in the current fiscal year (started March 20), out of which more than 17,578 tons of processed tea have been produced to register a 16% rise compared with the similar period of last year.
“The government has spent around 2.6 trillion rials [$11.36 million] on tea purchases. Nearly 68% of the total sum are top-quality tea leaves and the remaining 32% belong to other varieties of leaves,” Habibollah Jahansaz, the head of Iran Tea Organization, was quoted as saying by Mizan Online.
The official noted that more than 135,000 tons of green tea leaves are estimated to be produced in Iran by March 2021, registering a 10% year-on-year increase.
“A total of 30,000 tons of processed tea are expected to be produced this year, which will meet around 30% of domestic demand. The figure shows a 5% year-on-year rise. Top-quality tea makes up 20% of our production and the rest have relatively lower qualities and are sold at more reasonable prices in the market,” he said.
Tea is cultivated in Iran's northern Gilan and Mazandaran provinces.
“Based on the latest figures, Iran’s domestic demand for tea stands at 105,000 tons per year. Some 40,000 tons of processed tea are produced from tea plantations in these two northern provinces, given that resources are efficiently used and the farms are rejuvenated.”
Every year, the government buys strategic crops, including tea, wheat, sugarbeet, barley, cotton boll and oilseeds, from local farmers at guaranteed prices to control prices in the domestic market and fill its strategic reserves.
Last year’s tea harvest season ended in October 2019 and the government purchased a total of 126,753 tons of green tea leaves from local farmers for 3.43 trillion rials ($14.5 million).
“About 28,519 tons of processed tea were derived from this amount of purchases, showing an 11% rise compared with the similar period of last year,” Jahansaz told Mehr News Agency.
The official attributes the growth in output to favorable weather conditions, government support in granting cheap loans and increasing guaranteed purchase prices.
The crop 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.