TEA IS UNDER THREAT




İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO- 12.05.2017 Global Warming not only changes the production locations of some goods but also threatens some special plants. We are aware of the negative effect of Global Warming in farming some crops such as wheat, maize and rice. However, a newly revealed research indicates that it risks the future of tea, Turks’ favorite drink, too.

Previous researches find out that in some parts of Asia where is one of the biggest production fields of tea, could face with yield decline up to 55% thanks to drought or excessive heat. Additionally, quality of new products is decreasing. Moreover, it has been argued that intensive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in tea plantations led soil degradation about 2.8% annually. This also causes chemical runoff into waterways, which can lead to serious problems for human health and environment.

Fortunately, Kunming Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have sequenced tea genome.  By this way, scientists will be able to extract all genetic information needed to help breed and speed up development of new varieties of tea plant. They could produce better tea varieties that produce higher crop yields and use water and nutrients more efficiently. Furthermore, it could even help to improve drink’s flavor and nutritional value.

According to data granted in 2014, about 5.56 million tons of tea is commercially grown on more than 3.8 million hectares of land. It has economic and cultural value especially in Turkey.  It has a special place in Turkish culture.