Iranians consume about 120,000 tones of tea in a year. There was a time when Iranian tea production was making 58% of this market, but today it is less than 17%. One of the reasons according to Mr Mehrdad Lahuti, MP of Gilan Province, is the excessive import of tea to the country which has made the competition for Iranian tea producers impossible.
Therefore, many tea plantations in the north of Iran have changed usage of their lands. Currently the annual Iranian tea production is about 20,000 tones only.
Many Iranians have got used to the Indian and Ceylon tea which are stronger than the Iranian type.
According to ICA report, in the first three months of the Iranian year (about April to June 2020), Iran has exported only 550 tones of tea. While the import of tea has been 14,400 tones, worth 69 million USD.
India with 52% and Sri Lanka with 19% are the top exporters of tea to Iran. Weird is that although Iran has good connections to both India and China, 16% of the imported tea has come from United Arab Emirates.
Based on these figures the local manufacturers claim that the excessive import of tea is killing their business.