The head of Iran’s northern tea factories union has announced that more than 65 tea production units have been shut down, and the “uncalculated policies” of the Ahmadinejad administration have put a heavy strain on tea production in Iran.
ILNA reports that Behzad Sazandeh, the head of the union, emphasized the difficulties facing the tea production industry, concluding that the industry will be completely destroyed within two years.
He said that only 115 factories are currently working at minimum capacity, and tea production has fallen from 65,000 tons per year to 20,000 tons.
Tea is one of Iran’s main agricultural products and, according to reports, the industry has been severely harmed by the decrease in government support after the reduction of government subsidies as well as the unregulated import of foreign products.
Meanwhile, recent government reports indicate that tea is one of top goods smuggled into Iran.
The Gilan governor reported last month that Iranians consume 120 tons of tea per year; about 30,000 tons of that is produced in Iran and the rest is imported.