COLOMBO, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Iranian tea importers have proposed to double the quantity of tea they take from Sri Lanka under the tea-for-oil barter mechanism, from its current 5 million U.S. dollars to around 10 million during the winter months, local media reported on Sunday quoting Niraj de Mel, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB).
He said that Iran's winter season runs from December to March and there is always high demand for tea at that time.
He added that the Iranian New Year, celebrated in the third week of March, and Ramadan will also lead to a high demand for tea.
The chairman said that since the start of the tea-for-oil barter mechanism in August 2023, Iran has bought 25 million dollars worth of tea from Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka intends to pay off 240 million dollars in 48 months.
He said the barter mechanism has been a great success and represents a significant development for Sri Lanka amid its current foreign exchange liquidity crisis.
Tea exports to Iran amounted to about 125 million dollars per year before falling to around 70 million dollars in 2022, he said, adding that the internal demand for tea in Iran is about 100,000 metric tons annually. ■