Carman Allison, vice president of thought leadership at Nielsen IQ in Toronto, describes the unusual combination of slow growth and job gains set against rising interest rates and sharply higher inflation as a “consumer recession.”
“We are all trained to understand that you need two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction for a country to be officially in a recession. But we also know that by the time that actually happens, a lot of the economy is already in a recession,” he explains.
| The International Tea Academy Awards its First “Leafies” | Sales of Herbal Infusions are Expected to Double this Decade
| PLUS Canadian Economist Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, sees a lot of positives for the tea industry but cautioned that inflation is an economic disease that will linger. Supply chain challenges remain. He said the macro-dynamics around commodities are getting more complicated, adding, “The fall is not going to be an easy one.”
To qualify for an IMF bailout bankrupt government must collect more revenue
The proposed increase to a maximum of 30% from 24% of earnings is needed to qualify for a $2.9 billion bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The only sector earning significant foreign exchange revenue is Sri Lanka’s tea industry. Production is down by 20%, but growers are getting record prices at auction. The tea sector generated $819 million during the first eight months and is on track to earn around $1.2 billion, comparable to the $1.3 billion in 2021 exports. In an open letter published Oct. 17, the Tea Export Association “earnestly requests the government to maintain the concessionary corporate income tax rate of 14% for the tea sector for its long-term sustainability, which will ultimately bring in much higher growth dividends for the economy.”
| Vietnamese Tea Exports Experience Slow Decline
Vietnamese tea exports declined sharply during COVID and have yet to recover. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, tea exports are down 6.4% by volume to 54,000 metric tons through June 2022. Revenue from tea exports was $94 million, which is 1.3% lower than during the same period last year. The Ministry of Industry and Trade estimated annual revenue from tea exports averaged $173.2 million during the years 2016-2020. At that time, Vietnam accounted for 2.4% of the global value of tea exports.
| Kenya to Expand its Orthodox Tea Capability
Kenya’s new administration is investing millions in its tea sector to generate jobs and boost foreign exchange. Two weeks ago, President William Ruto announced that the government would construct a modern tea processing and packaging facility in Mombasa. Simultaneously the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) asked the government for Ksh800 million ($6 million) to expand production lines at 10 of its 12 orthodox tea factories. KTDA currently produces five million kilos of high-value specialty tea.
| PLUSJoydeep Phukan, the Principal Officer and Secretary of India’s Tea Research Association, discusses a standards update to better align good practices with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Growers worldwide adhere to the Tocklai Tea Research Institute’s Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards. Introduced in September, the new standards will be fully implemented in January 2023.
Contest entries increased by 21% to more than 300, including several from less well-known tea growing origins
Competitors earned 25 Gourmet Gold, 36 Silver, and 34 Bronze medals last week in the 5th Teas of the World International Contest in Paris. The competition awarded 95 medals in two broad categories: Monovarietal Teas and Infusions, Blends, and Scented Teas. Taiwan dominated the Camellia Sinensis categories, earning eight of 17 gold medals collectively. Chinese growers earned four gold medals, followed by Vietnam with two.
Growers on small tea farms in Assam must now pay wages equal to those at the largest commercial gardens. In August the Assam government announced a 27 rupee increase in the minimum daily wage to 232 rupees. Workers, mainly women, who pluck 24 kilos of tea (about 50 pounds a day) will now earn about 9.5 rupees for every kilo plucked. Read this in-depth report by Assam correspondent Roopak Goswami.
| PLUS Nishchal Banskota, the founder of the Nepal Tea Collective, shares his vision of a public benefit corporation that shifts the focus to creating value for every stakeholder in tea – not just shareholders.
Consuming 400-600 ml of Flavan-3-ols May Reduce the Risk of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
Following years of discussion, nutrition researchers published the first intake recommendations for a bioactive compound and are now pressing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to add plant-based flavanols to their dietary recommendations due to their significant health benefits.
| Colombo Tea Prices Reach an All-Time High | India Rolls Out a Digital Retail Network for Small Grocers
| PLUS Tea growers in Kumaon, India turn to Young Mountain Tea founder Raj Vabel to finance construction of a farmer-owned tea processing facility large enough to sustain a village of several hundred workers.
Kenya’s New President Announces Investment in Value Addition for Tea Exports
President Ruto makes value addition in tea exports a priority and announces a new public-privately funded tea processing and packaging facility in Dongo Kundu, Mombasa
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| PLUS Peris Mudida, chief executive officer of the newly re-established Kenya Tea Board in Nairobi, shares her vision and describes the tea board’s mandate to regulate, sustainably develop, and promote the tea sub-sector.