The Sri Lankan Embassy in Tehran in collaboration with the Tea Association of Iran, the Sri Lanka Tea Exporters’ Association, and the Sri Lanka Tea Board organised a discussion on “Expanding Ceylon tea market in Iran and neighbouring countries” at the Chancery premises on 2 March 2022. More than 30 invitees including representatives from tea associations, unions 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.
Sri Lanka Tea Exporters’ Association Chairman 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, Fan Company Chief Executive Officer (CEO) 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 the Covid-19 pandemic situation and spoke of issues which included high prices and the supply chain. 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 co-operation with the concerned authorities of Sri Lanka and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iran Tea Association thanked the Sri Lanka Ambassador and his staff for extending the invitation for the discussion.
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 iron out any issues.
The participants were treated to a high tea arranged by the Embassy and a documentary on Ceylon tea was also screened.