Rooibos shortage may cause 90% price surge

It seems as if South Africa’s 30,9 million-strong tea-drinking population is opting for the home-grown choice.

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The South African Tea Industry Landscape Report 2016, a survey from market research agency Insight Survey, revealed that many SA tea-lovers are shifting their preference to Rooibos.

Ernest du Toit, spokesperson for the Rooibos Council, attributes this primarily to the health benefits of Rooibos.

“The demand for Rooibos tea is also growing abroad with Germany being the biggest importer of Rooibos tea at 31%; its demand is almost as big as South Africa’s,” said Du Toit. SA currently exports Rooibos tea to more than 30 countries, including the Netherlands, Japan, UK and US.

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He speculated that Rooibos tea, which can only be cultivated in the Cederberg region in the Western Cape, contributes between R400 million to R500 million to SA’s GDP.

However the drought took its toll in the past season, “with tea farmers struggling to produce enough yields to satisfy the growing need,” said Du Toit.

“We only produced 11 000t and it’s predicted that 2016’s production will be even less because of the low rainfall during the 2015 planting season. This will cause a global price increase.”

According to the survey the shortage of Rooibos can cause a price increase of up to 90% during 2016.