We are a pretty lucky nation. The world admires our political Cinderella story, we have very good wine at reasonable prices, our summers are warm and our winters mild. We are also the only nation in the world to produce rooibos tea. While we take our daily dose of rooibos for granted, 50% of rooibos tea harvested annually is exported to international markets, with the Germans most eager to get their hands on it. South Africa produces 10 000 to 15 000 tons of rooibos tea a year, worth between R150m and R200m in raw form. Once processed, the tea is worth between R200m and R300m a year.
Richard Bowsher is one of the inspired minds behind BOS Brands, the manufac- turers of BOS ice tea. The tea for BOS ice tea is harvested on Bowsher’s farm, but he believes it’s a mistake to simply supply raw material to an international market.
“South Africa shouldn’t be exporting rooibos tea in its raw form so that large global beverage companies can produce ice tea and sell it back to us at exorbitant prices,” he says.
“The key to strengthening our economy is for local companies to add value to these raw materials by creating great products within our borders. We should not only sell them to South Africans, but also export the final products to the global market.”
The tea, which is only farmed in the Cederberg region of the Western Cape, has many health benef its when consumed as a tea, but is also used in everything from cosmetics and baby food to spices and wine. This might explain why Invenfin, a division of Remgro Limited along with retired Manchester United Football Club manager Sir Alex Ferguson decided to invest in Bos Brands.