Cape Town - A R1.2m international grant fund on rooibos
export competitiveness secured by the South African Rooibos Council is aimed to
drive exports of the indigenous herbal tea.
This is for the second phase of a technical assistance
project which the Netherlands government is funding to improve the volume and
value of rooibos exports.
The International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint agency of the
World Trade Organisation and the United Nations, is managing the project in
collaboration with the Netherlands’ Centre for the Promotion of Imports from
Developing Countries as part of the Partnership Agreement Netherlands Trust
Fund (NTF II).
The initial six-month phase involved an analysis of the
German rooibos market and the potential for direct exports of value-added
rooibos product in markets where tea is currently re-exported from Germany.
Germany is by some margin the world’s largest rooibos
importer as many of the largest European tea merchants are based in Hamburg.
accounts for some 2 500 tonnes of the approximately 6 000 tonnes of rooibos
exported annually. Other major markets are the Netherlands at 1 085 tonnes and
the UK at 860 tonnes.
As a result of the first study, the SA Rooibos Council’s
marketing campaign in Germany was extended to Austria and Switzerland, both
significant herbal tea markets served by the large German distributors.
The latest tranche of funding is being used to conduct an
in-depth analysis of the way production data is collected, analysed and
This will ensure better production forecasts and supply capacity and
help to limit excessive price fluctuations, all of which are concerns for
The Rooibos Council is also finalising an export development
plan and has identified Dubai and Taiwan as two potential new markets.
established herbal tea markets and importers have already expressed interest in
the South African tea.
Robert Skidmore, head of the ITC’s Sector Competitiveness
Section, said the second phase of the project will begin to deliver real
benefits for the industry.
“We first needed to understand the export markets and what
the opportunities were. Now we can help the industry to better meet market
requirements and develop new markets.”
Donneé MacDougall, the South African Rooibos Council’s
marketing director, said that capitalising on export potential will be an
important next step for the industry.
“We’ve seen good domestic growth and if we can increase
exports, particularly of value-added products rather than just bulk tea, it
could provide a significant boost which would benefit the entire sector, from
farmers to manufacturers.”
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