Tea Yields Compared
This was prompted by Aseem, a reader who asked about tea yields in response to a previous post about tea production.
Here are some interesting stats I found regarding the differences in tea yields in a few countries. I’m comparing 2002, 2003 and 2004 in India, China and Kenya. Unfortunately calendar year 2004 is the most recent year with data available.
Area Under Tea Cultivation (in Hectares)
- The land available for tea cultivation in India and China continued to increase during this period, but in Kenya it continued to decrease.
- This is probably because of crop failure due to devastating drought conditions in Kenya, coupled with tea union strikes.
Average Yield per Hectare (in Kilos)
- Note that Kenya has by far the highest yield (among these 3 countries), followed by India and China.
- One of the primary reasons for Kenya’s high yield is that it produces much of its tea from clonal varieties of the tea plant through vegetative propagation, rather than seeds.
- Clonal tea production in general produces better yields because the cloned plants are more resistant to disease and other natural factors like drought.
- India continues to increase clonal tea production, with the establishment of many nurseries throughout Darjeeling, the Nilgiris and Assam.
- In China, the density of clonal tea is approximately 16%, far below other countries which probably explains part of it’s lower productivity. Increasing labor costs are another issue.
- As far as the steps China is taking to improve productivity, I believe developing effective cloning programs are a huge part of the strategy.
I’m going to write a new post about cloning soon. The whole idea behind cloning is quite fascinating, so stay tuned.
Data Source: “Tea Statistics 2005”, by J. Thomas & Company Private Limited. J.Thomas was founded in 1861, and has a long history, spanning over two hundred and fifty years. Responsible for conducting the first Indian tea auction in 1861, the company is the single largest tea auctioneer in the world, handling over 155 M.Kgs of tea annually.
By the way, 1 hectare = 2.47105381 acres
Filed under: china, clonal, data, india, kenya, production | 11 Comments