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  • (Paraguayan?) Stevia Cultivation in China Declines Drastically while Demand Increases

    by Market Insider

    Monday, 02 Jun. 2014

    Stevia Leaf is a native plant of Paraguayan biodiversity but also occurs in Brazil. The Brazilian Pharmacopoeia provides the only official national standard for testing the quality of dried Stevia Leaf.

    A 2004 United States United States Agency for International Development (USAID) study urged the development of a Paraguayan Designation of Origin for Stevia Leaf to give it a marketing advantage as the original quality of Stevia.

    And, in 2004, in the context of intellectual property law, a Paraguayan presidential decree was issued which recognized the species Stevia rebaudiana as a native species originating from Paraguay, taking into account its discovery, botanical taxonomic classification, identification of its active principles, and agricultural practices.

    Stevia was introduced to China already in the 1970’s and commercial cultivation picked up in the 1980’s. China quickly became the number one producer and exporter of Stevia Leaf and extracts thereof. Paraguay remains the world’s number two producer and exporter. The USAID study reported that United States of America importers actually associate Stevia with China rather than with Paraguay.

    A new article by Green Wave Ingredients (GWI) (La Mirada, California) reports that while the market price of Stevia has increased significantly (by about 20% this year), attributed to a drastic decline in cultivation in China, global demand continues to grow. Thus shortage conditions are predicted for 2014.

    Stevia cultivation in China amounted to about 4,450 hectares (ha) in 2005, increased up to 24,685 ha in 2010, but decreased to only 2,666 ha by end of 2013. GWI explains that by 2010, Chinese production exceeded global demand and the stevia farmer’s profit margins were slim, so the cultivation area already began to decrease in 2011. The reason that a shortfall is just now predicted for 2014 is that the market has been working through reserves left from the 2010 and 2011 harvests. It is reported that growers haven’t benefited as much as expected from increased demand, yet some increase in cultivation area is planned for 2014.

    Sources:

    1. Green Wave Ingredients (GWI). The Stevia Paradox: story behind the sweet trend. Engredea News and Analysis. 13 May 2014: http://newhope360.com/breaking-news/stevia-paradox-story-behind-sweet-trend

    2. Penner R, Shanks T, Timcke A., et al. Stevia from Paraguay. Asuncion, Paraguay: USAID. September 2004: http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNADB003.pdf

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