After the Russian Federation, Iran has traditionally been the 2nd largest outlet for Ceylon Tea. With the stringent economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the West and USA, this position has temporarily changed. However, with the possibility of sanctions being lifted sooner than later, Iran is expected to revert to the top. The Low Grown Tippy Teas at the Colombo Auctions are readily purchased by Iran and Ceylon Tea virtually dominates the market with a share of approximately 50%.
The Iranian Food & Drug Authority which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education in Iran has increased concern and sensitivity regarding the protection of their consumers from imported food & beverages. Accordingly, the Iranian Authorities are seeking an undertaking from the state bodies of tea producing countries on the quality of the final product exported to Iran. To facilitate this requirement, Iran expects a Certification of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) which is applied for the manufacturing and processing of the final product for made tea.
The Government of Iran is therefore, requesting a Quality Certificate from all tea suppliers exporting to Iran to consider registration permitting the import. This certification is mandatory and must be issued by the apex state body of the respective tea producing countries. The issuing of new GMP Certificates and renewal of old GMP Certificates will be considered by Iran only after submission of such document. Hence, the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) has commenced a process which will enable interested exporters to apply and obtain a quality certificate for submission to Iran.
Under this scheme, the SLTB’s role will be to issue a third party certification enabling eligibility for GMP from Iran in respect of final tea product ready for shipment after conducting an extensive inspection process with respect to blending, storing and packaging followed by a final product evaluation using sensory analysis and scientific examination guided by national and international standards for tea. The annual surveillance audits up to the renewal of certification after three years, may gain international confidence for Ceylon Tea, another value-addition for Sri Lanka Tea industry.
This scheme is entirely voluntary and the Sri Lanka Tea Board will undertake inspection only on the request of the specific Tea exporter and arrange expertise as per a pre-scheduled plan and audit using applicable standards. The enclosed set of documents will describe the procedure followed prior to issuing of certification and thereafter, in awarding the certificates. The scheme provides an internationally recognized third party Quality Assurance Certificate for processed tea in Sri Lanka.