Commercial tea plantation or tea cultivation is a profitable business. However, like any plantation business, a tea garden requires a substantial amount of land. Also, it grows only in a warm environment. In this article find detailed information about how to start a small tea garden or tea plantation business.
Tea is a favorite and popular drink all around the globe. Tea is not only a beverage. It relates to strong social and cultural connections. In addition, it is a sign of hospitality. It is the largest produced drink in the world and the most acceptable drink across the globe.
The main determinant of the growth of the global tea economy is the demand for the commodity. Several factors influence the demand for tea, including the traditional price and income variables, and demographics such as age, education, occupation, and cultural background. In addition, health has a great influence on tea consumption.
Finally, apart from consumption, other main drivers of international tea prices are trends and changes in per capita consumption, market access, the potential effects of pests and diseases on production, and changing dynamics between retailers, wholesalers, and multinationals.
There are 34 tea-producing countries in the world and the most important ones are in Asia and Africa. China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Turkey, Iran, and Indonesia are the major tea-producing countries in the world. Northern hilly areas of India are famous for tea production. And Assam and Darjeeling tea is popular globally.
Health Benefits of Tea
First of all, tea contains antioxidants. However, green is healthier than any other variety. It has less caffeine than coffee. Active compounds in tea can help lower levels of inflammation and inflammatory reactions. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine, which can work synergistically with caffeine to improve brain function. Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer.
Location & Agro Climatic Condition For Tea Plantation
Tea requires a moderately hot and humid climate. Climate influences yield, crop distribution, and quality. Therefore, before cultivating tea in a new area, you must consider the suitability of the climate. Tea grows best in well-drained fertile acid soil on highlands.
Temperature: 21°C to 29°C is ideal for the production of tea. The high temperature is essential in summer. The lowest temperature for the growth of tea is 16°C.
Rainfall: 150-250 cm of rainfall is ideal for tea cultivation.
Soil: Tea shrubs require fertile mountain soil mixed with lime and iron. The soil should be rich in humus.
Land: Tea cultivation needs well-drained land. The stagnation of water is not good for tea plants. With heavy rainfall but no stagnancy of water, such mountain slopes are good for tea cultivation.
8 Basic Steps of Tea Plantation
1. Land Preparation
Land preparation is the first step. You must provide fertile soil. Turn the soil, so the roots of tea seedlings can penetrate deep into the earth to draw moisture and nutrients. You can sow 3 to 5 seeds in an evenly distributed manner. Then, cover the seeds with soil. Irrigate the seeds every morning and evening before they take root.
Planting is a crucial operation. Generally, it determines the development and productivity level of tea throughout its economic life. Therefore, proper planning and refinement of techniques are essential for long-term benefits.
3. Shade & Shade Trees
You must provide proper shade for several reasons. It helps to reduce excessive heat and light radiation. In addition, your garden will get organic matter from the leaves of the shade trees. There are several species that are used as shade trees. Some of the popular species are Albizzia Odoratissima, Albbizzia Chinensis, Albizzia Procera, Accacia lenticularis, Derris robusta, and Albizzia Lucida.
Ensure adequate nutrients in the soil. However, you must go for soil analysis. So that, you can get an evaluation of nutrient deficiency in the soil. Apply fertilizer and nutrients accordingly.
Suggested Read: Is Soil Testing Important in Agriculture?
5. Irrigation & Drainage
Generally, the main resource of water is rainfall. However, you must maintain the soil moisture in an even manner. Therefore, conservation and supplementation of soil moisture by irrigation are necessary during the period of moisture stress.
You must determine the irrigation requirement carefully. However, direct measurement requires sophisticated apparatus. Therefore it is usual to rely on indirect measurements like monitoring of soil moisture status, or on estimates based on meteorological observations.
You will need to plan for drainage. The open drainage system consists of a network of field drains, collector drains, and the main drain.
6. Plant Protection
You will need to protect your tea garden from pests and diseases. In addition, you must take adequate and timely measures to reduce crop loss due to pests and diseases. Therefore, monitoring pests for their early detection, integrated management of pests (IPM), and discretion on the choice of pesticides are important aspects. Some of the potentially harmful diseases are blister blight, black rot, red spot, black spot, fusarium, etc.
Pruning is one of the most important operations in tea plantations, next to plucking. Because it directly determines the productivity of tea bushes. You must periodically carry it out. Therefore, to maintain vegetative growth, pruning is necessary.
Plucking in tea is synonymous with harvesting other crops. The tender apical portions of shoots consist of 2-3 leaves and the terminal buds are nipped off in plucking. After the processing of plucked shoots, you get the tea finally. A tea plant yields best in the 5th to 7th year.
Tea is a perennial deep-rooted crop. They can live for several decades. Unlike other short-lived crops that require replanting, tea plants develop new buds after each plucking to provide a new yield. At the end of every harvest season, the plucking areas of the plants are pruned to keep them neat and maintain the height at a controlled level.
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