Camellia for Foliage, Flowers, Fruit & Tea

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that frequent tea drinking helped to slow down aging and was good for preventing and curing cardiac and cerebral vascular diseases and for many other ailments. Wuyi Black Dragon is advertised as a cure for hangovers, high blood pressure, bad temper and as a tonic for making the drinker feel generally alert.

Although China is the major tea producing country in the world in terms of tonnage, I learnt surprisingly little of relevance to developing a UK tea market from my visit there. This was due to one thing: the Chinese put no emphasis at all on marketing. They are purely producers.

What I did learn that was of value to me were certain production techniques. One needs to go to China to get to grips with the history and art of growing tea and understand the fundamental complexities of the operation.

8) India and Sri Lanka

Although arrangements had been made, and a visa purchased, for a visit to India and Sri Lanka, political instability meant that the trip is to be postponed until late 2003.

The history of tea in India is worth recounting; it offers lessons to other prospective producing areas. It falls into clearly marked phases:

  • Pioneers tackled the dangerous forests in the south, and in Assam
  • Machinery was created, from which our modern machinery has evolved
  • Planters focussed on yield and labour issues
  • Research was instituted and great advances were made all round.
  • The Second World War checked progress but also forced further modernisation.
  • A good part of the industry is British owned even now.
  • In the last few years Bhutan, Sikkim and others are developing tea.
Major tea-producing companies in India include the Goodricke Group of Companies, based in Calcutta, but part of the UK Lawrie Group and I have already met the Chairman in London.

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