Agricultural products from Japan have started to get a new ring within international food industry. This term is radioactive food. Fukushima disaster has lead into situation where people are increasingly observative on where their food for example tea has come from. 2011 and many years after that mark a catastrophic crop for tea farms close to Fukushima nuclear plant. I don’t know the exact size of the affected area, but anyhow even the once famously clean brand of Japanese food is now being tainted. There seems to be no way for a single agricultural producer inside the affected area to continue their business. Agricultural producers outside the affected area will not have it easy either.
TERRIBLE BUT TRUE
Year 2011 will start slow downward trend in Japanese tea industry and there is very little that Japanese can do about this thing. I expect to see marketing campaigns, which focus on remote pristine areas and traditionally high quality tea produce. But human mind is a funny little thing as when it starts to think something possible it immediately grows into something, which is quite probable. This will cause the slowdown in Japanese tea sales.
THE SILVER LINING
The silver lining in this case is not for Japanese tea industry, although there probably is one, but I can’t see it right now. No, the thing that I’m thinking of is Taiwan. That beautiful island has very similar geographic and climate conditions as Japan as well as well-established tea culture. My projection is that Taiwan is going to rise its profile as a quality tea exporter and it won’t take long before Taiwan exports much more of the total tea production than the measly 3%, which it currently does. The world – beware – fine Oolong tea is coming!