SA farmers are lining up to plant more rooibos tea as demand for the anti-oxidant-rich red brew it produces grows, but a natural limit on suitable land may mean supply will struggle to keep pace. In 2018, rooibos, which only grows in a small, drought-stricken part of SA’s southern tip, was being farmed on almost 65,000ha of land. That was up 12% on 2017, itself a record year, according to industry body The SA Rooibos Council. The global herbal tea market is growing at 7% a year, according to data from Euromonitor International, and rooibos — with an established reputation for carrying health-giving properties — is increasingly popular. Some established farmers expanded their harvests last year while others grew the crop for the first time. Rooibos processors are trying to project a picture of a maturing industry able to deliver security of supply to global brands such as Nestlé and Unilever. Years of dry weather throttled yields and pushed the price of the tea up by 18.5% in 2018, b...

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