Welcome to the UruShop news round-up for December 2016. Here we take a look at some of the latest international yerba mate news stories from the past month.
Harvests and Markets:
End of year market reports are suggesting what has been feared for some time now. Despite a 2% growth in Argentine output in 2016, overall yerba mate sales are down significantly on the previous year. The biggest drop came in foreign sales (40.5%) mostly due to the drastic decline of the Syrian market, which constitutes around 70% of Argentine yerba mate exports. Sales in Europe and North America nevertheless continue to flourish.
In response to this further calls have been made to limit the amount of yerba harvested in 2017 to avoid future overstocks. One leader of the Argentine Yerba Mate Institute (INYM) has recommended the development of a new system designed to regulate the creation of new plantations, particularly amongst larger producers.
Meanwhile there are claims by farmers in Misiones that the agreed price of 5.10 pesos per kilo is currently not being met by the government, and that payments are often being made late. A proposed strike and halt to the harvest for January 10th has been threatened should the situation not be rectified.
Yerba Mate Tourism in Paraguay:
December saw Paraguay launch its first official tourist route for yerba mate. The route combines elements of nature, technology, production, science, customs, and traditions, and will pass through some important mate sites, including the Yerba Parjarito Museum, and the Yerbatera (production site of) Selecta. Such a tour has long been been called for, with yerba mate constituting the principle ingredient in Paraguay’s national beverage tereré , for which a national day is celebrated every year on February 28th.
Mate Interest in Vietnam:
As part of their ongoing efforts to promote yerba mate to new markets, Argentina’s INYM recently visited Vietnam. At a hotel in the capital Hanoi attendees were educated on the positive health benefits of the drink; how to prepare it correctly, and the variety of ways it can be consumed. The audience are said to have responded with curiosity and enthusiasm, particularly when the similarities between mate and green tea were discussed.
Recycling Yerba in Uruguay:
A new scheme is underway to recycle large amounts of discarded yerba mate in workplaces across Uruguay. Experts say that when yerba has absorbed water its weight roughly triples, meaning that up to 125 tons of used leaf are being discarded daily in Montevideo alone! The scheme will initially employ eight young people suffering with disabilities and mental health problems who will act as the used yerba collectors. The discarded leaf will then be placed into special storage tanks where it will be turned into compost.
New Mate-Based Packaging Discovered:
Scientists from Argentina and Venezuela have developed an edible and biodegradable material that could help preserve food. Using an extract of yerba mate and cassava starch, the new biodegradable material may go on to be used as a food packaging or film.
Mite Control Methods Investigated:
Paraguayan scientists are investigating “biological alternatives” to current chemical methods used to control mites on yerba mate crops. Two main species of mite have been identified as a threat to plants, but it is believed that existing control methods can be improved in order to alleviate the effect of chemicals on both the environment and human health.
Piporé Launch New Tereré Blend:
After two years of development Piporé have launched a new blend of yerba mate specifically designed for making tereré. Piporé has already had a coarse cut tereré product on the market for the past ten years, but claim that this is the first available in Argentina that does not require the addition of extra ingredients, having been already blended with mint, lemon, and a little stevia.
See it in action here…
Paraguayan yerba mate brand Pajarito has teamed up with one of the country’s leading coach travel companies NSA. Passengers who use NSA’s services – which includes travel to destinations in Argentina and Brazil – will now have the opportunity to relax with a mate or tereré whilst on-board. Pajarito products will also be available to purchase as gifts or for consumption at a later date.
Mate on the bus, now there’s an idea!
Spotted a news story you think should be included in our January round-up, let me know? firstname.lastname@example.org