Iran’s Tea Industry: Boosting Production and Agritourism

Iran’s government has increased the price guarantee for green leaves by 45% this spring, pleasing the nation’s 55,000 tea growers and expanding domestic production. Many of the 160 tea factories in Iran purchase tea from local growers at prices higher than the government’s base rate of $0.30 per kilo for quality leaves and $0.20 for seconds. The harvest that began in May is expected to yield 135,000 metric tons of tea, up 4,000 metric tons from 2020. Iran produces 90% of its tea in the northern provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran, where there are currently 28,000 hectares designated for growing tea.

Agritourism in Iran: New Opportunities for Farmers

Iran has recently issued its first agritourism permit for a farm in Qom Province, allowing farmers on privately-owned land to host tourists and provide educational experiences such as tea tastings. Experts say that agricultural tourism creates a new chain and diversity in the field of production and services. The program is a subset of the rural tourism industry, which includes resorts, non-profit agricultural tours, farmer’s markets, and support for leisure and hospitality ventures that attract visitors with money to spend.

India-Iran Tea Trade: Current State and Future Prospects

Iran is a net importer of tea but now produces enough tea to trade small quantities with Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Canada, Australia, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Georgia. Contracts for 30 million kilos of new-season tea are currently being negotiated between India and Iran. Iran is the single largest importer of Indian tea, buying 21% of India’s exports, exceeding Russia/CIS for the first time. However, sanctions imposed by the US have caused some concern for tea growers about timely payments. Tehran and New Delhi are in the final phases of negotiations for a preferential trade agreement, easing financial transactions currently restricted by US and European Union sanctions against Iran. In 2019, Iran signed a provisional trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), a trade block that imports tea from Gilan Province, lowering tariffs to 3.1%.

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