South African rooibos tea gains global recognition

By Kealeboga Mokomane

6am… 9am… 12pm… 3pm… 6pm… that was the time when my grandmother had her cup of rooibos tea every day – black with a sugar with her porcelain tea.

Tea time with my grandmother was family storytelling time – or just a chance to catch up on some great gossip and updates on her last visit to collect her retirement money. Tea time was more than a chance to connect with her, but was a ritual that has become our family culture for many years.

This naturally sweet, soothing, caffeine-free herbal tea not only cemented its place in our homes, but also joined the tastes of Baklava, Halloumi and Feta Cheese by being added to the European Union (EU) list of agricultural products. protected products and foodstuffs. After a decade of candidacy, Niecie Voster, the director of the South African Rooibos Council, finally succeeded.

According to the South African Rooibos Council (SARC), rooibos is the second most consumed drink in the world. Around 25,000 cups of tea are poured every second around the world, which represents 2.16 billion cups per day. For South Africa, tea is a business that produces 15,000 tonnes of rooibos per year in more than 30 countries around the world. Germany, Japan and the Netherlands remain the largest importers of rooibos, closely followed by the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

According to SARC, the protected designation of origin (PDO) status, attributed to tea or “red bush”, means that only leaves grown in the southeastern region of Cederberg in South Africa can be sold under the name of “rooibos” in EU countries and several others outside the bloc. . Voster said the PDO status aims to protect the name and authenticity of unique, geographically linked products, which will allow producers to limit competition from a growing range of non-genuine rooibos teas that have emerged amid increasing demand. for antioxidant teas without caffeine. rich drink.

This is an advantage for South Africa as it gives the Rooibos Council the opportunity to promote tea more vigorously. Being on the EU list is not only a major victory for the industry, but it is also a success factor for the country’s brand. The Rooibos Council is now considering contacting the World Trade Organization to extend the new tea protection to the global market.

Thanks to the Rooibos Council, South Africa can now make this very unique product its own. So whenever you have this cup South Africa savor it with pride as the only country of origin officially recognized by the European Union.


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