Wednesday 20 November 2019

Cuppa time: Cost of tea soars due to poor weather conditions

Rosa Silverman

THE price of tea has jumped to a two and a half year high, with poorer countries likely to see the biggest impact.

The price of tea has soared to a two and a half year high following poor rains in Kenya.

The adverse conditions for crop-growing in one of the world’s largest exporters of black tea could leave people paying more for their cuppa than they have since late 2009.

Droughts that affected more than 13 million people across East Africa devastated export crops last year, while a poor monsoon could also hit tea production in India and Sri Lanka.

The wholesale price of the highest quality black tea has jumped 41% higher since January, the Financial Times reported.

But Kaison Chang, secretary of the intergovernmental group on tea at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, suggested retailers were not likely to pass on the full price increase.

“You would expect some impact on the retail level but the competition among all beverages at the retail level is pretty intensive,” he told the newspaper.

Tea drinkers in poorer countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, where retailers’ margins are lower, are expected to be hardest hit by the price rise.

Kenya, India and Sri Lanka are three of the world’s top five producers of tea, along with China and Indonesia.

Earlier this year Stephen Twining, of tea company Twinings of London, said the price of tea was rising as demand was growing.

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