World's Biggest Tea Producers from 1961 to 2019. Travel back in time with this revealing animation!
A few weeks back, the animation below was doing the rounds on LinkedIn amongst the tea network. Unfortunately, the company who painstakingly put all this data together didn't identify themselves BUT, we acknowledge and thank them in absentia for their fantastic visual.
Some take-homes from the simulation.
China substantially increased its tea production over time from 97,064m in 1961 to almost 2.7b in 2020. Most of it, like India, is consumed within their borders.
By the end of the cold war and Chernobyl's disaster in 1986, USSR's production stopped completely. Since Russians and former USSR countries consume strong black tea, Kenya gained a crucial frontier market in the 2000s.
Iran-Iraq war greatly affected Iran's production though the country bounced back impressively from 27,815m in 1989 to 253,914m just (3) years later in 1992. Unfortunately, due to a lack of support by previous governments as well as discouraged farmers' conversion of tea farms to paddy fields or putting them into more profitable uses, production dipped.
Kenya's slow but steady growth over the decades is hugely significant - from 12,641m kgs to last year's 2019's figure of almost 500m kgs mainly due to ongoing planting efforts by small scale farmers through the Kenya Tea Development Agency. Nature has been in favor too. As a rainfed plantation crop, tea considerably depends on the weather for optimal growth. Apart from a well-documented drought in 2016 dubbed "the worst in 3 decades", we've been lucky not to face any extremities as such. However, climate change is a real threat to the industry as a whole.
It is fascinating to see Kenya becoming the world player it is today. We look forward to Kenya's tea development through sustainable practices that will benefit all those involved in the supply chain.