AP: A storied industry falls on hard times---
India has long been famous for its tea, and the $1.5 billion industry launched by British colonials nearly two centuries ago is, after China's, the world's second largest. More than 1 million tons were grown in 2007, much of it here in the northeastern state of Assam.I promise to do my part!
But production costs are mounting and a brutal insurgency has targeted the planters. Globalization, with the spread of cheaper tea from countries such as Vietnam and Kenya, has increased competition. While there have been glimmers of good news recently — a $320 million revitalization package announced by the government, and an uptick in prices from historic lows — the business is still at the bottom rungs of profitability.
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This is a business that seems to attract trouble. Yet here is the contradiction: It's hard to find a planter who wants to give up. These are well-connected landlords who could sell out if they wanted, yet few do.
"For me, looking after the garden is a great joy," said D.N. Boruah, a planter whose family has been growing tea for nearly a century. "I may not be earning anything — I'll tell you that — but the joy is to be involved."
And thanks to whomever recently bought Twinings Earl Grey Tea Tea Bags through Lady Jane's Diversions, my Amazon.com store. I really appreciate it!