1238 GMT December 13, 2019
Between January and April this year, India’s tea exports to Iran rose to 22.49 million kilograms against nine million kilograms during the same period last year, according to The Asian Age.
“Iran is the second-largest importer of Indian tea after Russia. After the US imposed sanctions on Iran, there has been a lot of uncertainty among both Iranian importers and Indian exporters. Hence, most of them are preponing their bookings and shipments. Till April there has been a growth of 150 percent and in the past two months also we are seeing huge demand for tea from merchants who buy on behalf of Iranian importers,” said Parimal Shah, the vice president of International Operations, MK Group.
Iran imports Assam orthodox tea and the price of this variety has gone up by 30 rupees to 35 rupees per kilogram in recent auctions in Kolkata.
Another factor that is supporting Indian exports is the higher price quoted by Sri Lankan orthodox tea.
Due to higher labor charges, Sri Lankan tea is currently priced $1.25 to $1.50 higher than Assam orthodox. Sri Lanka, too, is an exporter of tea to Iran.
Fearing a stoppage of exports to Iran in the near future, exporters are also exploring new channels. Even if they fail to discover new channels, the tea exports to Iran will be higher this year compared to last year due to early shipments. However, in that scenario, the exports will fall next year, said Shah.
India produces 1.35 billion kilograms of tea every year, of which around 650 million kilograms is Assam orthodox variety.
Of the total production, 17 to 18 percent is exported and the remaining is consumed within the country. The absence of Iran as a buyer will undoubtedly affect the prospects of the tea industry next year.