(Dyan Seneviratne is a Member of the World Bank Expert Panel – Plantations 2017)
Plucking, Picking or Harvesting are all synonyms with tea harvesting as the marketable product of tea is manufactured from young or tender tea shoots which are picked at specific intervals depending on the rate of growth which also differs due to weather, temperature, elevation etc. The policies germane to harvesting of tea involve numerous aspects such as [a] Plucking method [b] Plucking standard, [c] Plucking severity and [d] Plucking frequency. It is this writer’s personal experience over three and a half decades in the Tea Planting Industry that effective harvesting policies in a tea estate has a direct effect on the productivity and indeed viability of tea plantations. Accordingly, the carrying out of proper plucking policies, contrary to misguided and erroneous beliefs, paradoxically reduces the cost of plucking, increases the Yield per Hectare [YPH] and improves the quality of the required leaf standards [end-product] and significantly maintains the sustainable growth of tea bushes, period!
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