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The global tea market has witnessed a strong and steady growth in the tea production and tea consumption from around the world over the recent decades, while the top tea producing countries are still dominating the global market with their significant tea productions year on year. As the health-conscious consumers around the world are increasingly preferring tea due to its anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties, the global tea market is expected to grow further in the near future, and the top tea producing countries are also forecast to continue leading the market in terms of tea production, tea exports and tea consumption over the next few years.
What are the health benefits of tea? In fact, tea has long been considered as one the most popular and healthy beverages across the globe. Tea leaves contain various health benefits including antioxidants, vitamins, trace minerals, and different amino acids which are believed to be good for having stronger immunity, lower cholesterol, increased metabolism, prevention of cancer etc. For example, green tea has been scientifically proved to be able to reduce the effect of LDL cholesterol levels in the body, cancerous cells and reduces body pains. Therefore, more and more health-conscious consumers worldwide nowadays prefer drinking tea over the other beverages such as coffee and soft drinks.
Driven by the growing consumption of tea around the world, the global tea market is growing with a steady pace over the recent decades. According to Transparency Market Research , the global tea market will rise from $12.8 billion in 2017 to over $20 billion by 2025, registering an impressive 5.7% CAGR during the 2017-2025 period. Asia Pacific, led by China and India, is expected to maintain its title as the world’s largest tea producer and the biggest tea growing region in the world with a healthy CAGR of 6.8% between 2017 and 2025. Major types of tea, including black tea, green tea, herbal tea and instant tea, are all gaining increasingly popularities across the world, thanks to their remarkable health benefits, great taste, and ample availability in the global market.
When it comes to the global tea production, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has reported that the world tea production increased by 4.4% annually over the last decade to reach 5.73 million tonnes in 2016. The massive expansion of the tea production over the recent years is also a result of increased consumer health consciousness and the rapid development of herbal tea beverages in different countries characterized by a longstanding tradition or newly emerged trend of drinking tea.
By far, China is the largest tea producing country and the largest exporter of tea in the world. China’s tea output is more than doubled from 1.2 million tonnes in 2007 to 2.4 million tonnes in 2016. Today, China alone is responsible for over 43% of the global tea production and more than 20% of the world’s tea exports every year. The significant expansion of the tea industry in China is also believed to be the response of the unprecedented growth in both domestic and international demand.
|Rank||Country||Annual Production (Tonnes)|
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
China has along been the world’s largest tea producing country and the largest tea exporter for centuries. China’s Minister of Agriculture also reports that China produced over 2.4 million tons of tea in 2016, accounting for 40% of all the tea grown in the world. Last year, over 2.87 million hectares of land in China was used to grow tea. Provinces like Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Yunnan are some of the major tea growing regions in China, together they account for over half of the total tea industry revenue every year.
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Tea, also known as Chai in India, is often described as the national drink due to its significant popularity in the country. According the official statistics, tea production in India increased to a record high of 1.25 million tonnes in 2016, making it once again one of the top tea producing countries in the world. Currently, Assam Tea Company is the largest producer of tea in India, while Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri are some of the largest tea producing states in India.
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Kenya is ranked in the third place of the top 10 tea producers list. Kenya is well known as one of the world’s largest black tea producing countries and top black tea exporters in the global market. The tea production in Kenya reached 473,300 tonnes in 2016, increasing by over 18 percent from the previous year.
The tea industry in Sri Lanka showed its greatest year-on-year crop shortfall in recent times, as the subsector faces various challenges due to severe weather conditions, coupled with government restrictions on fertilizer subsidies. However, its 349,308 tonnes tea output in 2016 still puts Sri Lank in the top tea producing countries list.
Turkey is only one of the largest tea producers in the world, but also the top tea consumers in the global market, as a recent study shows that the people of Turkey consumed the most amount of tea in the world, an average of 2.5 kgs per person. Rize Province is the largest tea growing region in Turkey, helping Turkey to be ranked as one of the top tea producing countries in the world.
Tea production in Vietnam started during French colonisation in 1880s. Today, it remains as one of the top tea producing countries in the world. Over 60% of the tea produced in Vietnam is cut-tear-curl black tea, 35% is green tea, and 5% is other specialty types of tea such as lotus or jasmine tea. Vietnam also produces several special tea types such as Shan Tuyet, a rare tea type found only in limited areas of the country.
Indonesia, also known as the world’s largest palm oil producer, is among the world’s top tea producing countries. Despite due to the growth of the more lucrative palm oil business, land devoted to tea plantations is shrinking, Indonesia is still one of the leading producers of tea in the world with half of its tea being exported to the world.
Argentina is the largest tea producing country and tea consumer in South America. Black tea is the major type of tea produced in Argentina with the subtropical climate providing ideal conditions for growing hybrid Indian and Assamica variants. Argentina’s national drink, Mate, is also a traditional herbal tea that made from the leaves of yerba mate plant.
Japan is another world’s major tea producer and tea drinker, producing over 80,000 tonnes of tea annually. With large amount of tea drinkers in the country, only less than 2% of the tea production in Japan are exported. Of the major tea types produced in Japan, about 99.9% is green tea, also known as Matcha, which is also one of the national drinks in the country.
Iran is known for its production and exports of black tea in the global market. Black tea is also one of the most popular type of tea consumed in the country. Today, over 32,000 hectares of lands across the country are used to grow tea.
Global tea production and consumption will continue to increase over the next decade, mainly driven by rising demand in developing and emerging countries especially China, India and Japan. Meanwhile, the tea exports from major tea exporting countries, such as Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, China, Argentina, Vietnam, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda are also expected to rise over the near future, due to the upward trend of drinking tea in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. As the popularity of tea continues to spread across the world, the top tea producing countries are expected to maintain their dominance in the global tea market, thanks to their large plantation areas and preferential natural conditions for growing tea.