EghtesadOnline: A total of 62,325 tons of green tea leaves have been purchased by the government from local farmers so far this year, showing a 10% rise compared with the similar period of last year, the head of Iran Tea Organization said on Wednesday.
“This amount has cost the government around 3.91 trillion rials [$15.9 million]. Some 48,907 tons of the purchases [79% of the total] are top-quality tea leaves and the remaining 13,418 tons [21%] belong to other varieties of leaves,” Habibollah Jahansaz was also quoted as saying by IRNA.
The official noted that out of the overall green leaf production until now, more than 14,000 tons of processed tea have been derived.
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 starts late September.
“Right now, we are in the middle of the second harvest. During the first, green tea leaf yields amounted to 55,000 tons and our estimates for the second harvest reaches 45,000-50,000 tons,” he said.
The official added that weather reports predict low levels of precipitation in the summer and this might have negative impacts on the country’s annual tea production.
In May, Jahansaz was quoted as saying that 135,000 green tea leaves are estimated to be harvested during the current Iranian year (started March 21), which is 4,000 tons more than last year.
There are currently 28,000 hectares of tea plantations in the country, 22,000 hectares of which bear yields, according to Iran Tea Organization figures. More than 55,000 farmers earn their living through tea cultivation in Iran’s northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran where the product is considered an economically strategic commodity.
Some 90% of Iran’s tea plantations are located in Gilan Province. Lahijan County in eastern Gilan is known as Iran’s tea production hub.
Iran's Tea Association puts the domestic demand for tea at 120,000 tons per year. The country consumes about 5% of the total annual world tea production.
Local tea production meets 30% of the annual domestic demand and the rest is imported from India and Sir Lanka. Turkey, Germany, China, Japan, Vietnam, Kenya and Poland are other exporters of the product to Iran.