Economy, Domestic Economy

Iranian Team Surveys Indian Tea Industry

Iranian Team Surveys Indian Tea Industry
Iranian Team Surveys Indian Tea Industry

India is hopeful of boosting exports to the high–value Iranian tea market following the just-concluded visit of an Iranian team, which included officials from the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran, and the Health Ministry.

The ISIRI, Iran’s official standards body under the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, is the sole organization in the country for developing and enforcing standards, wrote the English-language Indian daily The Hindu.

While it is usual for trading countries to interact through trade and official delegations, this visit was unique in that it was an interaction focused on quality and safety issues.

During the February visit by an Indian delegation, Iran raised the issue of pesticide residue in tea and it was then decided to invite them to check out the Indian tea industry’s good agricultural and manufacturing practices.

The three-day visit to a tea estate and a factory in Assam and the Tocklai Tea Research Station in Jorhat (also in Assam) took place last week. The Indian side was represented by the industry, the Tea Board of India, a tea research scientist and officials of the Indian Food Safety Authority and the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee, a central government body that advises, regulates and manages the use of pesticides in India.

With an estimated per capita tea consumption of 1.2 kg (against India’s 700 grams), Iran is considered an important market as much for its potential for importing large volumes of teas as its preference for high-value orthodox tea.

The unit price of teas that are exported (mostly from Assam) averages at around 250 rupees (approximately $3.7) a kg. Orthodox teas are made in the same way as crush tear and curl CTC teas, but with most of the leaf remaining intact. They are subtly flavorful and are the beverage of choice of discerning tea-drinkers the world over. They also fetch better prices.

India has been vying with Sri Lanka for a larger share of the Iranian market. Between January and September 2015, around 12.77 million kg of Indian teas were exported to Iran against 13 million kg a year ago. Exports stood at 18 million kg in 2014 and India aims to increase it to 20 million kg this year.