Iran to buy more Sri Lankan tea: government

April 14, 2010 (AFP) – Iran plans nearly to double its purchase of Sri Lankan tea, the island’s main export commodity, Sri Lanka’s government said Wednesday, announcing a move that could boost tea prices. Sri Lanka’s tea promotion board said they expected the Iranian move to further strengthen prices, which have risen by 29.47 percent in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year. Iran wants to buy 50 million kilos (110 million pounds) of tea this year, up from 28 million kilos in 2009, the government said in a statement.

Colombo said Tehran was ready to boost its purchases from Sri Lanka after the island became “politically stable” following the end of 37 years of fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels last year.

Sri Lanka earned an estimated 1.3 billion US dollars from exporting 289 million kilos of tea in 2009.

Iran accounted for nearly 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s tea sales in 2009.