The Republic of Iran is expected to "heat-up" Indian tea exports this year, following the Islamic country's decision to return to tea buying.
Iran intends to purchase up to 10 million kilograms of tea during the current year through the government trading branch, the State Tea Organization (STO).Gautam Bhalla, who leads the CCPA delegation of Dubai and Iran, recently conveyed that of the 10 million kilograms of tea that Iran will import, between 5-6 million kilograms are to come from India, the tea capital of the world.
The STO Chairman will, in the near future, visit Calcutta with a team for undertaking discussions on the proposed purchase of Indian tea. India has recently succeeded in attracting West African and Middle East tea consumers, by offering more orthodox tea products.
The Iranian delegation is expected to also visit gardens in Assam as well as North Bengal, especially Darjeeling. The visitors will also use the opportunity to learn about new tea-growing techniques, the Hindustan Times reported.
Iran's eagerness to purchase substantial quantities of tea after a virtual cessation in 1999, is rooted in the slight economic upturn following a sharp rise in oil prices. Oil is selling at approximately $30 per barrel. Iran is also receiving positive signs and attracting business interest from the developed West.
Iran's STO has in the past been invited to India as part of its new drive to promote tea exports to Russia, West Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia. India's Tea Board has also been a regular participant at Tehran International Trade Fairs.
"We have always valued the Iranian market and managed to resume tea exports to Iran since 1996, after a gap of four years", Indian Tea Industry officials remarked recently.
India is the world's largest tea producer, comprising approximately 30 percent of the world total. However, the nation's share in world trade is only 18 percent, compared to Sri Lanka's 24 percent. Tea types such as CTC, orthodox and green tea, as well as tea bags and instant tea, are becoming increasingly popular around world, and all types are now produced in India. India faces stiff competition in the global tea export arena from Kenya, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
Iran itself is a grower and exported or tea on the global level. Mohammad Ali Najafi, head of the State Tea Organization (STO), said Iran expected to export 20,000 tons of tea in the Iranian year which began on March 21 (1999) -- 4,000 tons more than in the previous year. Greece, the Netherlands, Russia and the United Arab Emirates were among the main importers of Iranian tea. Iran consumes approximately 100,000 tons of tea per year, of which nearly 30,000 is imported, mostly from India. Tea is customarily served and consumed four times per day in Iran.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )