Keep calm and drink tea, Kazakhstan spends millions to import it13 june 2014, 18:36
Kazakhstan is steadily increasing its import of tea, which reached 32,000 tons worth $147 million in 2013 alone, Tengrinews reports citing the Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan.
This year might beat even that record. In the first quarter of 2014, Kazakhstanis consumed 10,000 tons of tea worth nearly $43 million.
Kazakhstan imports tea from more than 28 countries. India, Sri-Lanka, Russia, China, UAE and Kenia are among the biggest suppliers. Other countries that supply the Kazakh market are the Netherlands, Czech Republic, France, Austria, Korea, Ukraine, Italy, Morocco, Armenia, Pakistan, Iran, Germany, Indonesia, Poland and Georgia.
The Kazakhstanis prefer various kinds of black tea to green tea. Almost 90% of the tea imported to Kazakhstan is black tea packaged in tea bags and placed in boxes weighing up to 3 kilograms.
Black flavored tea is among the favorites. India imported $40 million worth of flavored tea in 2013. On the shelves of Kazakh shops tea lovers can also find Vietnamese tea, which comes solely in flavored form to Kazakhstan. The import was worth a modest half a million dollars last year.
However Kazakhstan does not consume all the tea it imports, it also reexports some of it. According to the Statistic Agency tea exports from Kazakhstan have tripped in the past 5 years: from 428 tons in 2009 to 1,527 in 2013, that is, from $1.7 million to $7.2 million. In the first quarter of this year Kazakhstan exported 413 tons of tea worth $1.86 million.
The main destination for Kazakhstan's tea exports are its neighboring countries. The biggest share of the export goes to Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Considerable amounts go to Uzbekistan and Mongolia. In 2013 Russia bought 909 tons of tea from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan - 515 tons, Uzbekistan - 2.9 tons and Mongolia - 45.2 tons. The country’s other big neighbor China purchased 1.7 tons.
Curiously, Kenya imports flavored black tea from Kazakhstan. Last year 51 tons of tea was sent to the African country.
Reporting by Aidana Usupova, writing by Dinara Urazova