After water, tea is the most consumed drink in the world. And African countries are some of the leading producers of this cash crop. 21 May is celebrated as International Tea Day by the United Nations to raise awareness of the importance of tea for rural development and sustainable livelihoods.
The popularity of tea consumption is unsurprising because of the range of its health benefits. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and weight loss effects.
Bush Tea breaking value chain barriers
The labour-intensive nature of the tea sector means that families in some of the poorest countries in developing nations rely on its production for income. But there is a need to improve the tea value chain.
SANBio not only celebrates International Tea Day but is supporting the sustainable development agenda through its Resurrection Bush Tea project. The tea has a strong market in herbal tea drinkers in Zimbabwe and a growing market in South Africa. Here is what you should know about the project:
- A vast value chain: African Infusions, through its parent company Parceval, has been in the tea sector for 30 years developing expertise to cover the full value chain from cultivation to finished products.
- Knowledge experts: Their extensive regulatory knowledge means that they regularly act as industry representatives, consulting on new policy developments pertaining to the industry.
- Caring for African landscape: Great effort goes into sourcing materials ethically, being respectful of the sustainability of harvesting and processing practices, and those with the indigenous understanding of the botanical substances.
- Tea is energy-boosting: Resurrection Bush infusions have been used to build stamina and immunity and it has been known to give a mental and physical health boost
A transformation of traditional tea use
Traditionally Resurrection Bush has been used medicinally. The leaves and twigs of the plant are boiled and consumed as remedies for colds, influenza, mastitis, backache, kidney disorders, hemorrhoids, abdominal pain, and lower blood pressure. People who suffer from chest pain and asthma typically inhale the smoke for relief.
Technology is opening up value chain options in the cosmetic industry as extracts are developed which are used in products for protecting dehydrated and stressed skin. SANBio is supporting the commercialisation of the resurrection bush, traditionally not classified as a food, to go through the strictest international standards to be classified as a tea that can be consumed across the globe. Through that experience in partnership with our private sector partner, we could subject several other indigenous teas including zumbani to open new markets for tea in Europe.