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    Tea Cultivation in India

    In the early 19th century governing officials and private investors got interested in developing tea in the north east region of India. The reasons for this were two-fold, firstly there was money to be made, and secondly, at the time Europe was having difficult relations with China; where tea cultivation was presently taking place. This meant that supplies of tea were often unreliable.

    At the time there had been claims that tea was growing wildly both in the Manipur district and in Nepal. This news and the need for a reliable source of tea resulted in the formation of a 'committee of tea culture'. This was formed in Calcutta and consisted of people who were thought to be of great intelligence and even greater class.

    Experimenting with Tea Cultivation in Calcutta

    The committee of tea culture first stated testing cultivation in Calcutta, using seeds that they had sourced from China. Somewhat disappointed by the results they turned to wild tea, provided by the East India company who had tea growing in their territory, between Sadiya and the Chinese border province of Yunnan. This tea was perfect for cultivation in the India and the success of the program enabled the tea trade with China to be discontinued.

    Tea Cultivation in Sri Lanka

    The cultivation of tea in Sri Lanka first began in the 1870s, with over 5500 ha being grown by 1880. The expansion of tea growth was rapid, with over 123000 ha of tea cultivation taking place within the following 15 years. This was in part due to the government promoting the planting of tea as the coffee crops had been devastated by coffee rust fungus. Amazingly his rapid expansion of tea cultivation was down to individual landowners, with the big corporations not getting involved in Sri Lankan tea cultivation till around the time of the first world war.

    Tea Cultivation in Java and Sumatra

    The cultivation of Tea first occurred in java in 1824 using seed that had been imported from Japan, in the following couple of years the government made six trip to China to collect further seed. The production of tea in Java was totally controlled by the government until around 1860. It was not very successful until the introduction of Assam tea seeds in 1878. In 1909 tea cultivation started in Sumatra through a British firm. Unfortunately the cultivation of tea suffered greatly in Indonesia during the second world war, with up to 70% of the land devoted to tea being uprooted or cut down to make space for subsistence crops.