In Mauritius, the culture of tea is passed down from generation to generation
Tea planters and pickers on a plantation in New France, Mauritius.
© RFI / Abdoollah Earally
By: Abdoollah Earally Follow
Both a heritage and an industry with strong growth potential, Mauritian tea seeks to reinvent itself.
The Mauritian authorities have requested technical assistance from the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in order to modernize this sector.
About 10% of tea plants, some of which are centuries old, have stood the test of time.
The RFI correspondent in Port-Louis visited a village in the south of the island, Nouvelle France, where tea cultivation has been a tradition from generation to generation.
At 9 am, the sun is already high in the sky for this group of pickers very early in the morning in the village of Nouvelle France.
Parvatee Bharat has just finished her day: “
Today we arrived at 3 am in the fields.
There we will go home.
Sometimes, we also do the picking in the afternoons.
I also have a small plantation.
Morning and afternoon, you have to pick to be able to make some money.
Parvatee and his three friends today collected 50 kilos of tea leaves, sold at Rs 20 per kilo, which makes an income of around 50 euro cents per person.
Ravin Padaruth, in his fifties, witnesses a slow deterioration of the harvest, from year to year: “
There, currently, the yield is meager.
Because of climate change, the cold weather is prolonged.
Warmer weather is needed for better tea leaf formation.
Introduced by a French, it is thanks to the arrival of the English that tea is booming
The authorities date the introduction of tea to Mauritius in 1760 by a French priest.
But it was the British who developed it centuries later.
One part has proudly stood the test of time, recalls Ashwin Bokhoree: “
Most of the plantations in Mauritius are almost a hundred years old.
Many date from the 1930s, 1940s. The last years of plantation creation were in 1956.
This aeronautical engineer gave up his career to resume a family tradition.
He now runs La Chartreuse, one of the four tea factories in Mauritius.
Factories called upon to modernize.
The state appealed to the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, for full assistance.
Malini Alleck, scientific manager at the Ministry of Agro-industry: “
It is above all to focus on new production techniques in the fields and in factories, and thereby promote Mauritian tea which has local characteristics.
The revival of this industry should also save a heritage intrinsically linked to the life of certain villages.
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Agriculture and Fishing