Journal directory listing - Volume 11-20 (1966-1975) - Volume 11 (1966)

A Geographical Appraisal of the Taiwan Tea Industry
Author: Tao-chang Chiang


The major findings of this study can be summarized as follows:
1. The tea industry is one of the leading industries; is a major employer of labor; iu the third ranking export commodity, bringing seven million U.S. dollars of foreign exchange annually to Taiwan. Tea extends agriculture use to about forty thousand hectares of land unsuited for growing food crops,
2. Tea gardens are mainly confined to the tablelands and hillslopes of northwestern Taiwan where relatively evenly distributed precipitation and rather deep, well-drained, acid soils favor the growth, of the tea trees. Plentiful and cheap labor supply, and the government help are also favorable
3. Taiwan tea planters are also rice growers. Almost all of the planters grow tea in small patches. Most tea planters have less than two hectares in tea gardens. The influence of the growing population pressure and limited arable land on the industry is very impressive.
4. There ara many grades of tea varieties. More than one-third of the tea garden area is occupied with poor varieties. In general, the methods of cultivation are extensive and inefficient. Over-plucking is not uncommon. Soil erosion is a serious conservational problem.
5. The yield of fresh leaves is low and the production costs are high, due to the loss of plants during wartime and inefficient methods of cultivation.
6. Crude tea factories are scattered in the tea producing region. Tataochen is the most important tea refining center, Home-tea-processors are numerous.
7. Relationship between the planters and factories is not reasonable. There is a serious lack of vertical integration among the majority of tea operators. Suck a situation does not favor the industry.
8. More than nine-tenths of tea produced is exported to overseas markets. Black tea is chiefly exported the United States, the United Kingdom, West Germany, Netherlands, and Japan. Morocco and Algeria are the most important customers of Taiwan's green tea. Pouchog tea is chiefly exported to Hong Kong Thailand, Ryukyu, and the United States. The leading buyers of Taiwan's oolung tea are the United States, the United Kingdom, and Netherlands. The industry, therefore, has long been greatly influenced by the world tea market.

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