Tea News for the week ending April 14
| A Billion People Participate in Earth Day Activities
Earth Day Organizers Honor Just Ice Tea Founder Seth Goldman
| Iran Snubs India Suppliers as Tea Exports Set Record
| Long-Running Drought in Kenya Depresses Tea Yields
| PLUS Vahdam Tea founder Bala Sarda is launching a new line of 25 Indian spices grown free of adulterants and pesticides and manufactured without artificial colors. Initially, Vahdam spices will be sold directly to consumers and later offered in grocery stores.
Hear the Headlines
A Billion People Participate in Earth Day Activities
More than 1 billion people participated in Earth Day in the past year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.
This year’s focus was investing in the planet, a theme embraced by many tea companies. “Everyone accounted for, everyone accountable,” comments Kathleen Rogers, President of EARTHDAY.ORG who writes that the environmental awareness campaign that began in 1970 is now celebrated in 192 countries.
“In 2023 we must come together again in partnership for the planet. Businesses, governments, and civil society are equally responsible for taking action against the climate crisis and lighting the spark to accelerate change toward a green, prosperous, and equitable future. We must join together in our fight for the green revolution and for the health of future generations. The time is now to ‘Invest In Our Planet.’”
Yogi Tea is an example. During the past year, tea team members planted 300 trees in the US. In Germany, the company helps wild bees and in Italy, the company hosts educational sessions and community cleanups. See yogitea.com for suggestions on what individual consumers can do to make a difference.
Just Iced Tea founder Seth Goldman, Cofounder and CEO of Eat the Change, Chair of the Board of Beyond Meat, and Co-founder of PLNT Burger and Honest Tea, will receive Earth Day’s 2023 Climate Visionary Award in recognition of his exceptional leadership and decades of tireless efforts as an innovative entrepreneur, environmental and climate activist, and philanthropist.
Rogers writes that “his bold passion for democratizing plant-based and plant-healthy foods worldwide has significantly contributed to solving the challenge of climate change and building a strong and equitable green economy.”
“This year’s honorees are leading the way to create widespread awareness and accelerate critical action to change the trajectory of the defining crisis of our time: the climate crisis.,” said Rogers.
Goldman and several other notable earth advocates were recognized at Earth Day’s annual Climate Leadership Gala, on Saturday, April 27 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
Iran Snubs India Suppliers as Tea Exports Set Record
Iran imported a record $665 million worth of tea in the fiscal year ended March 20, 2023.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) said tea exports estimated at $44.2 million were also at record levels, increasing by 90% in the five years ending 2021. Exports were up 34.8% compared to the same period last year, according to IRICA.
Volume totals exceeded the previous fiscal-year high in 2014 despite cutting off trade with India. Export value totaled $38 million that year, plummeting to $6 million during the pandemic when lockdowns prohibited guest workers from nearby countries from plucking tea.
Iran was once one of India’s top tea export destinations, accounting for almost half of all Indian tea exports. Iran also shipped teas to India, valued at $4.3 million in 2021.
In November 2022, Iran initially slowed and, in December, stopped sourcing tea from South India auctions by refusing to register new contracts, a requirement for landing tea at Iranian ports. The pullback remains unexplained but may be related to internal protests and violent clashes in major Iranian cities. During the past three months, withdrawal from tea auctions has depressed auction prices for orthodox categories.
The auction at Kochi is most impacted.
“Nobody knows what’s happening in Iran,” Ansuman Kanoria, chairman of India Tea Exporters Association, told the Hindu Business Line “Shipments have been made under previously registered contracts, but even their payments are coming very slowly. New orders are not getting registered, and it’s a very difficult situation,” Kanoria said.
The IRICA release indicates Iran continues to import premium-grade tea from trading partners Turkey, Germany, China, Japan, Vietnam, and Poland. The main export destinations include neighboring CIS countries, Iraq, Canada, Spain, and the Czech Republic.
Tea is popular in the nation of 88 million, where annual consumption is around 120,000 metric tons per year, according to the Iran Tea Association.
Iran’s 55,000 tea farmers are concentrated in Gilan Province. Local suppliers in the northern portion of the country produce about 30% of domestic consumption. Growers earn around $15 million annually (about 4 trillion rials) in sales to the government, which processes the tea. Harvesting begins in May, with production rising by double digits during the past few years. The market prefers top-quality leaves (about 79% of total output is processed as orthodox black tea).
Long-Running Drought in Kenya Depresses Tea Yields
Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) officials reported this week that scarce rainfall and high temperatures depressed first-quarter tea yields by 100 million kilos in the Mt. Kenya and Embu regions.
Export volumes declined by 19% in 2022 to 450 million kilograms, the first drop in volume since 2017. Output fell slightly to 535 million kilograms because of unfavorable weather.
KTDA Chair David Ichoho [I CHO HO] told a gathering of 225 directors representing 37 factories that the demand for orthodox teas from Kenya is rising.
“Orthodox tea, which includes oolong, green, white or black tea, has a high demand, and KTDA has identified markets that require more than 2 million kilos annually,” he told the directors.
Ichoho said KTDA is initiating a program supporting the processing of orthodox tea for export. Kenya currently exports 95% of its tea, with only 5% consumed in the domestic tea market.
BIZ INSIGHT – Meanwhile, in West Bengal, India, weeks of temperatures between 35 and 40 degrees centigrade have inhibited the second flush harvest now underway. A lack of rain has encouraged infestations of red spiders that feed on yellowing tea leaves weakened in the extreme heat. There has been no rain for 15 days, complicated by high winds that increase evaporation. Tea yields average between 1200 and 1500 kilos per hectare in the Dooars. Yields average 2,200 to 2,400 kilos per hectare in bordering Assam.
India’s tea exports for the 2022-23 financial year registered a 17.61% increase in value to more than $800 million US dollars.
Spice and Tea Synergy
By Aravinda Anantharaman
Bala Sarda’s Vahdam Tea turned eight this year. From launching Vahdam as a brand that connects tea drinkers with producers to a range of superfoods with turmeric, moringa, and matcha, Vahdam’s journey has been about an Indian brand offering consumers across the world what they want, direct from the source. The latest addition to the brand is a range of Indian spices, now offered not unlike their tea. We talk to Bala about the new launch and what it means for Brand Vahdam. Read more…
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