Tea harvest reduces in Iran
By Sara Rajabova
Farmers have stopped the third harvest of tea in Iran, head of the Iranian association of tea farmers Iraj Hoosemi said, Jahanesanat daily reported.
Poverty and drought are said to be a direct reason for failure of preparations before production season and cessation of the third harvest of green tea leaf, he noted.
"The volume of the green tea leaf collected during the first harvest was acceptable, but it was lesser compared to previous years," Hoosemi added.
In particular, it dropped by 40 percent compared to last year's second harvest.
Volume of green tea leaf collected during the third harvest hardly hits 10,000 tons, while it had been predicted to be harvested 40,000 tons of green tea leaf.
"Inappropriate pricing policies and mismanagement, and disregard towards tea industry are the main reasons for this unfavorable situation," Hoosemi said.
Besides, secretary of the Iranian association of tea farmers Nosrat Ramazani has said recently that about 6,000 hectares of Iran's tea farms have been destroyed due to mismanagement, ILNA news agency reported.
According to the reports, some 46,000 tons of green tea leaf which were collected during the first and second harvest have been purchased from farmers up to now, whereas just 2 percent of the total cost has been paid to them.
The government has repeatedly delayed the payment during the last years.
The government increased the price for purchasing green tea leaves from farmers by around 30 percent last month.
Iran's annual tea consumption amounts some 110,000 tons. Smuggled tea takes a lion share in tea imports to Iran.
Iran is currently exporting green tea to 17 countries. Some 2,700 tons of green tea leaves are being produced in the country annually, of which 700 tons are exported.
Some 3,000 tons of tea leaves worth 27 billion rials (some $2.2 million based on the official rate of dollar) has been harvested in Iran's northern provinces in the second Iranian calendar month, which began on April 21.
The Iranian green tea is exported mainly to Germany, the UAE, Canada, Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
The amount shows a 65 percent increase as compared to the same period of previous year.
On the other hand, according to the reports, some 70 to 80 percent of tea industry factories in Iran do not operate.
Iran imported over 41,000 tons of tea, worth $200 million, in the first nine months of the last solar year (March 20-December 20, 2012), according to the Iranian Customs Administration.
Also, Iran is said to import 30 million kilograms of tea from India in the next two years.
Iran has assured India it will include Indian tea in the top category of imported items.
India annually exports 12 million kilograms of tea to Iran, which accounts for 6 percent of its total tea exports.