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South Africa's Rooibos tea
Kind: ICD What's New  Organization: Department of International Cooperation  Publish Date: 2021-07-28 14:48
South Africa’s Rooibos tea, also called “red bush tea,” can only be grown in certain predominantly mountainous regions of the Western and Northern Cape provinces. The Rooibos plant has roots that reach deep into the earth, imbuing it with bountiful rare minerals which most other plants lack. Because of its antioxidant nutrients, Rooibos tea is considered effective in mitigating aging in human cells, as well as in reducing the incidence of cancer. In addition, it has beneficial anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

The European Commission recently approved the inclusion of “Rooibos”/“Red Bush” on the EU register of protected designation of origin (PDO), making it the first food in Africa to achieve this feat.

The EU decision means that the name “Rooibos” or “Red Bush” can only be used to refer to the dried leaves of 100% pure “Rooibos” derived from Aspalathus linearis that has been cultivated or wild-harvested in designated local municipalities of the Western and Northern Cape provinces. The PDO registration also allows South Africa’s Rooibos industry to use the EU logo.

According to South African Rooibos Council statistics, the sector provides household income and job opportunities for over 5,000 local people and produces about 14,000 tons of Rooibos tea per year. Global demand for the tea has continued to increase, with a total of more than 6,000 tons now exported each year to more than 30 countries around the world. Major export markets include Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S.

Centuries ago, immigrants to the Cape provinces from the Netherlands began drinking Rooibos as a substitute for the expensive black tea they had consumed in Europe. In 1772, European botanist Carl Thunberg visited the Cape provinces and made a report on the plant and also the tea. In 1904, a Russian immigrant Benjamin Ginsberg recognized the potential of this particular “mountain tea” and began a Rooibos-trading business.

Sources: Taipei Liaison Office in the Republic of South Africa; European Commission website
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Update: 2020-04-23
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