By Kamila Aliyeva
Azerbaijan, being known as a country where tea is a favorite beverage of the population, is largely involved in export and import of this product.
Over the past three years, Russia has increased export of tea products to Azerbaijan by 60 percent, to 640 tons per year, Retail.ru website reported referring to Ramaz Chanturia, director general of the Russian Association of Tea and Coffee Producers.
He said that for a long time Azerbaijani distributors showed no interest in importing Russian tea, however, the Association has been negotiating over the past 5-6 years to correct this situation.
In general, Russia increased tea exports to $41.1 million in 2017, according to the website. The main importers of Russian tea are Ukraine (2,300 tons in 2017), Moldova (about 1,000 tons), Poland, Germany, Latvia (less than 0,500 tons in total) and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan is among the leading countries in terms of tea consumption per capita. Therefore, the country attracts the attention of tea-exporting countries.
However, Azerbaijan not only imports, but also exports tea.
The State Program for the Development of Tea Industry for 2018-2027 was signed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The state program is to develop tea growing, increase the export potential in this industry, and ensure the employment of rural population.
Tea harvesting is planned to be increased by 10.96 times in Azerbaijan by 2027. The implementation of the state program will make it possible to increase the area of tea plantations up to 3,000 hectares and tea harvesting – 8,500 tons. This will greatly reduce import dependence, as well as increase the export potential of this sector.
Azerbaijan is the largest tea producer among the CIS countries. This applies not only to black tea varieties, but also to green ones. For the first time, small tea plantations yielded crops at the end of the 19th century in the South Caucasus region of Azerbaijan, but the development of local tea growing started only in 1932.
In the country, tea is mainly grown in the Lankaran-Astara region. This is an area of some 5,330 sq. km. and includes Astara, Lankaran, Masalli, Lerik, Yardimli and Jalilabad regions. Tea is grown in the first four of these regions. About 91 percent of tea production in Azerbaijan falls to the share of Lankaran.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz