Sri Lankan exporters explored the possibility of expanding its tea market in Iran and neighbouring countries following the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has hit the local tea exports in that region.
Under this set up Sri Lanka Embassy in Tehran in collaboration with Tea Association of Iran, Tea Exporters Association of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Tea Board organised a discussion on “Expanding Ceylon Tea Market in Iran and neighbouring countries” at the Chancery premises recently.
More than 30 invitees including representatives from tea associations, union of food wholesalers, top tea importers and prominent businessmen were in attendance. Objectives of the discussion were to brief participants on the Sri Lankan tea industry and secure the Ceylon tea market in the West Asia region.
Opening the discussion, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Iran Vipulatheja Wishwanath Aponsu stated that tea remains one of Sri Lanka’s exports that had not declined during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Highlighting the increased demand for Ceylon tea due to its taste and numerous health benefits, he requested the tea stakeholders to re launch the product enabling Sri Lankan tea to retain its popularity in the Islamic Republic of Iran and secure a place in the neighbouring countries.
The Ambassador also stressed that Iran is an important market as the country is the fourth largest export destination for Ceylon tea.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Tea Exporters Association Sanjaya Herath presented the overall outlook of the Ceylon tea industry, the stringent quality measures implemented by the Sri Lanka Tea Board, current trends of the Sri Lanka tea export market and ongoing and future marketing campaigns in Iran and neighbouring countries.
Further, he emphasised that under the implementation of the green agriculture plantation economy, the Sri Lanka tea industry has given priority to both sustainable and wellness factors.
On behalf of the Iran Tea Association, CEO of Fan Company Alireza Bardai explained the tea market in the Islamic Republic of Iran and stated that the Ceylon tea market in Iran has shown a declining trend due to Covid-19 pandemic situation and spoke of issues which included high prices and supply chain.
CEO Bardai pointed out available opportunities for Sri Lankan tea exporters in the West Asia region and assured his fullest support in retaining the Ceylon tea market in Iran.
In response, Ambassador Aponsu stated that under the humanitarian trade mechanism, the Sri Lanka Embassy continues to meet the demands of the Iranian tea market in cooperation with the concerned authorities of Sri Lanka and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The event created a platform for the Iranian tea importers to exchange their contacts with the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Exporters Association with a view to establish a strong link. It also gave an opportunity for Ceylon tea importers in Iran to sort out any issues.