EghtesadOnline: Domestic tea industry meets 30% of local demand, generates $10 million per year and its annual turnover hovers around 20,000 billion rials ($83 million), says Habib Jahansaz, the head of Tea Organization of Iran.
Local demand for tea stands at 100,000 tons per year, such that in the current Iranian year (March 2020-21), a total of 133,000 tons of tea leaves were harvested, from which 30,000 tons of dried tea were produced, he added.
Jahansaz put tea farmers’ total income in the current year at 5,120 billion rials ($21 million) and said, “Iran’s tea industry has seen a 5-10% growth. The government has paid off almost all its debts to tea farmers and only 20% of the share of tea factories have yet to be paid. Iran is home to 162 tea factories today compared with 134 in the last decade.”
Every year, the government buys strategic crops, including 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.
“Tea imports decreased to 42,000 tons this year compared with 80,000 tons of last year. Given the increase in the value of the US dollar, tea exports have become economically viable. As a result, 8,000 tons of Iranian tea were exported this year,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
There are more than 55,000 households engaged in tea farming in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, who own 26,000 hectares of tea farms. Ninety percent of tea farms are located in Gilan and 10% in Mazandaran.
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 in autumn starts late September.
Iran mainly imports tea from India and Sir Lanka. Turkey, Germany, China, Japan, Vietnam, Kenya, Poland are other exporters of the product to the country.
Iranian tea is exported to India, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Canada, Australia, Spain, the Czech Republic and Georgia.
Iran is among the world’s biggest consumers of tea besides Turkey, Ireland and the UK.
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, while Russia, the US, the UK, Egypt, Pakistan and Iran are the biggest consumers of the product.