Kochi: The country’s tea exporters are looking to increase shipments during the rest of the fiscal year after Iran agreed to ease certain import norms.
Iran is the third largest buyer of Indian tea after the United Arab Emirates and the UK.
Traders are now expecting to increase their exports to Iran of premium orthodox teas to 15 million kg for the year ending March, from 11 million kg in the previous year, said Basudev Banerjee, chairman of the Tea Board of India, a government trade promotion body.
Banerjee, who led a team of traders and state officials to Iran last week, said a number of key issues that were hurting exports to the West Asian country have been sorted out.
Iran can now become an important destination for higher quality orthodox teas from India, after the UK, which last year imported nearly 13 million kg of the premium varieties, he said.
Iran is a major market for the beverage, with annual consumption of 110-120 million kg that can’t be met by the country’s local production of 20-25 million kg of tea a year.
Iran has now accepted to waive the condition of Indian exporters registering for good manufacturing practices if they have an ISO certification backed by a letter from the Tea Board.
To address the issue of delays at Iranian ports, the authorities have agreed to give clearance to all teas from ISO-certified companies. As for other exporters, they will be allowed to move their consignment from the ports after giving samples for testing. The material would be recalled if the authorities aren’t convinced with the quality of the samples.