10 World’s Biggest Tea Producing-Countries10 World’s Biggest Tea Producing-Countries

10 World’s Biggest Tea-Producing Countries in 2021-Tea plants or known by the scientific name Camellia sinensis is one of the important commodities in the world which are included in the Magnoliopsida class and the Order Ericales. Historically, this plant probably came from the East Asia Region, which is around the Southwest region of China. Etymologically, the name Sinensis in Latin means China while Camellia is taken from the Latin name of the Reverend Georg Kamel, S.J (1661 – 1706), a Czech-born priest who became a botanist.

Tea Producing Countries- 10 World's Biggest Producers of Tea Leaves

Until now, the development of tea shows that production tends to increase. In 2021, the World’s Tea production reached 28 million tonnes with harvested areas around 5 million hectares (ha). Basically, in the last 20 years from 2000 to 2021, the production has increased gradually.  In 2000, the world’s tea production just around 12 million tonnes with harvested area around 2.3 million hectares (Ha).


Tea Producing Countries- World's Tea Productions and Harvested Area of Tea From 2000 to 2021

World’s Production and Harvested Areas of Teal Leaves From 1970 to 2021

YearsHarvested AreasProduction of Tea Leaves
(Hectares)(Tons)
19701,668,2901,286,757
19711,737,1481,308,424
19721,801,0841,405,269
19731,933,5531,465,134
19742,053,2601,492,601
19752,167,1221,549,347
19762,232,8901,591,872
19772,306,4391,771,000
19782,363,9291,805,757
19792,363,1631,834,132
19802,369,4801,893,527
19812,384,6641,885,907
19822,449,6671,961,781
19832,474,3582,062,325
19842,410,4412,202,636
19852,156,6592,307,534
19862,193,3472,293,102
19872,201,0182,358,977
19882,209,1882,448,034
19892,224,2222,472,861
19902,237,7862,524,670
19912,257,03910,294,497
19922,281,47010,201,654
19932,296,42210,577,491
19942,279,63010,698,424
19952,263,89510,757,229
19962,285,87011,090,062
19972,289,33111,440,097
19982,276,47912,467,710
19992,377,66112,815,552
20002,365,80812,353,949
20012,390,04712,895,996
20022,442,38713,218,367
20032,497,23613,451,325
20042,577,69114,317,776
20052,683,64915,120,033
20062,719,39315,410,890
20072,882,00516,600,827
20082,985,42617,018,413
20093,041,84417,210,010
20103,153,93118,577,510
20113,409,72519,550,189
20123,512,34620,492,501
20133,615,44721,719,287
20143,787,93922,664,922
20153,895,18123,434,520
20164,172,48723,857,739
20174,687,60824,819,663
20184,867,87426,086,054
20195,143,66326,660,081
20205,105,00027,197,669
20215,245,31928,191,556
Source: FAOSTAT, 2022

Specifically, in continental regions, Asia still becomes the main area of tea production regions. The production of tea leaves from Asia reached 24 million tonnes in 2021. Meanwhile, Africa is the second position after Asia with the production of tea leaves reached 3.3 million tonnes. Americas is the third position with production around 300 thousand tonnes.

Tea Producing Countries- Production of Tea Based on Continent

Based on the processing treatment, many types of tea are produced. White tea, black tea, green tea, red tea, Pu-erh tea are some types of tea that are well-known products in several countries in the world. In addition to having a delicious and refreshing taste, tea also contains antioxidant compounds that are healthy for the body.


10 World’s Biggest Tea Producing-Countries- King of Tea

Statistically, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), has ranked some of the countries with the world’s largest production. The tea leaves that have been harvested are of course not only used for domestic needs but also for export purposes because of the increasing demand. Here are the biggest of Tea-Producing Countries in 2021.


Table Rank of the 10 World’s Biggest Tea-Producing Countries in 2021

RanksCountiresProduction of Tea Leaves in 2021
(Tonnes)
1China, mainland13,757,000
2India5,482,186
3Kenya2,338,000
4Türkiye1,450,000
5Sri Lanka1,302,000
6Viet Nam1,073,000
7Indonesia563,000
8Bangladesh393,000
9Argentina339,288
10Uganda320,737
Source : FAOSTAT, 2022

Brief Description of 10 World’s Biggest Tea-Producing Countries in 2021

Descriptions of Biggest Tea Producers

1.China

China became the world’s biggest tea-producing country with production reaching 13.7 million tons in 2021. In this Panda Country, tea plantation area is about 3.1 million hectares. Tea planting areas in China spread over several regions. The provinces with the largest tea-growing areas in China are Guizhou, Yunan, Sichuan, Hubei, Fujian, Zhejiang, and Anhui. Guizhou with an area of 459.4 thousand hectares. Meanwhile Yunan with an area of 401.3 thousand hectares. Sichuan with an area of 321.1 thousand hectares. Hubei with an area of 310.7 thousand hectares. Fujian has an area of 246.7 thousand hectares and Zhejiang with an area of 196.7 thousand hectares. Anhui has an area of 170.0 thousand hectares.

Based on the type, green tea, Dark tea, and Oolong tea are some of the most popular. It is the most widely produced type of tea in this country. In this country, the tradition of drinking tea has been going on for a long time. The practice of drinking tea is thought to have started in the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD).


2.India

India is the 2nd largest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 5.4 million tons in 2021. Geographically, tea cultivation in India is concentrated in several regions. Based on data from the Indian Tea Association, the main tea plantation areas in India are West Bengal and Assam. Tea plantations in West Bengal Province reach 115,000 hectares and in Assam Province reach 32,000 hectares. Genetically, the types of tea grown in India include Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiri, Kangra, Munnar, Dooars-Terai, and Masala Tea. Of all tea production in India, about 70% is for domestic needs and the rest is for export.


3. Kenya

Kenya is the 3rd biggest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 2.3 million tons in 2021 with the tea plantation area in this country reaching 269 thousand hectares. Geographically, Kenyan tea is widely grown in several districts such as Kericho, Bomet, Nandi, Kiambu, Thika, Maragua, Muranga, Sotik, Kisii, Nyamira, Nyambene, Meru, Pain, Kerinyaga, Embu, Kakamega, Nakuru, and Trans-nzoia. The country of Kenya is known as the largest black tea producer in the world and became India’s competitor in terms of black tea production.


3. Turkey

Turkey is the 3rd biggest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 1.4 million tons in 2021 with a tea plantation area of 84 thousand hectares. In this country, many tea plants cultivation takes place in Rize Province. Turks like to drink tea so much of Turkey’s national tea production is for domestic needs and only a small part for export purposes.


5. Srilanka

Sri Lanka is the 5th largest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 1.3 million tons in 2021 with a planted area of 200 thousand hectares. Geographically, the central areas of tea cultivation in Sri Lanka spread over several regions, namely the provinces of Eliya, Dimbula, Uva, Uda Pusselawa, Kandy, Ruhuna, and Sabaragumawa.


6. Vietnam

Vietnam is the 6th biggest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 1 million tons in 2021 with an area of 115,000 hectares. In this country, the type of green tea, Black tea Oolong tea is very popular with its citizens. Much of Vietnam’s tea cultivation take place in northern and northwestern regions such as the provinces of Thái Nguyên and Lâmng.



7. Indonesia

Indonesia is the 7th biggest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 563 thousand tons in 2019 with an area ranging from 108 thousand hectares. Geographically, the provinces that produce the most tea in Indonesia are West Java (contributing about 70% of the national tea production), Central Java, and North Sumatra.


8. Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the 8th biggest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 393 thousand tons in 2019 with a tea plantation area of around 50 thousand hectares. One of the tea-growing areas in the country is in the Sylhet Region.


9.Argentina      

Argentina is the 9th biggest producers of Tea Leaves in 2021. According to FAO Statistical Corporate Database in 2021, the production of tea leaves from Argentina reached 339,288 tonnes. Geographically, in Argentina, The tea plantations are mostly grown in  the highlands of the Misiones and Corrientes provinces in north-eastern  of Argentina.  in this country, there is a popular tea in Argentina, namely Mate (herbal teas).


10.Uganda        

Uganda is the 10th biggest producers of Tea Leaves in 2021. According to FAO Statistical Corporate Database (FAOSTAT) in 2021, the production of tea leaves from Uganda reached 320,737 tonnes. Geographically, the tea of Uganda is commonly cultivated on the slopes of Mount Rwenzori and along the crescent of Lake Victoria areas of Bushenyi, Hoima, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kibaale, Kisoro, Mbarara, Mukono, Mityana, Rukungiri and Wakiso. in this country, tea is one of the main agriculture commodities because tea is traditionally Uganda’s third largest agricultural export commodity by value.

11. Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the biggest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 132 thousand tons in 2019 with an area of 89 thousand hectares. Much of the tea produced in this country comes from the Shan State.


12. Iran

Iran is one of the biggest tea-producing country in the world with production reaching 90.8 thousand tons in 2019 with an area of 16,000 hectares. In this country, Gilan province is the main center of tea cultivation in this country.




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Bibliography 10 Biggest Tea Producing-Countries in the World in 2019

FAO Statistical Database. 2019.  Production of Tea: top 10 producers 2019. Accessed via  http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC/visualize on 16 May 2021.

India Tea Association. 2017. Tea Growing Regions Accessed via  https://www.indiatea.org/tea_growing_regions on 17 May 2021

R.M. Gesimba, M.C. Langat, G. Liu and J.N. Wolukau, 2005. Tea Industry in Kenya; Tea Challenges and Positive Developments. Journal of Applied Sciences, 5: 334-336. DOI: 10.3923/jas.2005.334.336

Srilanka Export Development Board. Tea from Sri Lanka Accessed via  https://www.srilankabusiness.com/pdf/tea-ebrochures-1.pdf on 17 May 2021

RateTea. 2017. Tea-Producing Regions. Accessed via  https://ratetea.com/region/bangladesh/77/ on 17 May 2021.

Ratetea. 2014. About Argentina. Accessed via https://ratetea.com/region/argentina/65/#:~:text=About%20Argentina,-Tea%20Plantation%20near&text=The%20tea%20is%20mostly%20grown,rainfall%2C%20ideal%20for%20growing%20tea. on January 01st, 2023.

Ezra, M., Paul Corti, L., and Madina, G. 2014. Uganda’s Tea Sub-Sector: A Comparative Review of Trends, Challenges and Coordination Failures. DOI:10.22004/ag.econ.206133


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