What can we expect from the 2017 Rooibos season?
In general, Rooibos plantations are looking better than a year ago. So says Johan Brand, Technical Manager of Rooibos Ltd. The Rooibos harvesting season is in full swing in most of the Rooibos production areas. Agterpakhuis and parts of the Nardouwsberg started to harvest during November last year as the Rooibos ripened earlier on shallower ground and showed signs of possible leaf loss.
Although the 2017 Rooibos harvest seems better than in 2016, it will still not meet the local and global demand for Rooibos. Even though it is too early to determine the exact size of the 2017 harvest, it will exceed the 12 200 tonnes of Rooibos harvested in 2016. Hence, demand will again exceed supply this year. However, with all the new plantations, the gap between supply and demand will narrow down even more.
Despite lower than average rainfall in the Rooibos-producing areas during 2016 the rain was wide spread. It is expected that increased producer prices will lead to more Rooibos being cultivated in 2017 than during the previous year. Currently, more Rooibos seed has been sent for treatment than a year ago. The seed batch of 2016 exceeded 2015's seed batch with 50%.