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Drought affects tea production in Shandong

02-16-2011 13:48 BJT

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A severe drought is hampering tea farmers in east China's Shandong Province. CCTV reporter Shen Le went down to a major tea production base in the region to find out more about how the tea growers there are coping with the dry spell.

The people in Jufeng like drinking tea.

It has become an indispensable part of their everyday life.

And the tea produced here is also popular both at home and abroad.

Yuan Congbo, General Manager of Yuyuanchun Tea Trade, said, “The soil in Jufeng is great for growing tea. Every year, clients from across the country and foreign countries like South Korea, Japan and the UK come here to buy. We have Wulong tea, Black tea and Green tea, consumers love them.”

However, this year the prospects are not looking good.

The tea plants are thirsting for water.

Shen Le said, “The worst drought in a hundred years is affecting tea production here in Jufeng. But luckily, local authorities are already taking counter measures.”

In a plastic greenhouse, the farmers are using sprinklers to cultivate tea plants.

More than 30 sprinklers are installed on the roof. Turn on the tap, and a miniature drizzle starts to fall.

Traditional irrigation methods use trenches and are not water efficient.

But here, the sprinklers have helped farmers reduce irrigation costs while saving precious water.

Tang Jiaming, Deputy Magistrate of Jufeng Township, Shandong Province, said, “Everyday the tea plants are watered twice. If we stick to the traditional irrigation methods, the greenhouses will consume at least 20 cubic meters of water. But the sprinkler technology needs only 5 cubic meters. Each day the farmers can save up to 50 yuan per greenhouse. And they can also use the water on other crops.”

Tang Jiaming says the spring tea is usually harvested in April. But the persistent drought has reduced this year’s expected yields and prolonged the harvest by at least 10 days. He says prices will also go up when this year’s crop reaches the shelves.

 

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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