The Chairman of Taiwan's Department of Agriculture made an appearance in our neighborhood (Zhushan) to conduct a field survey of the impact drought conditions have made on crops of spring tea. The Tea Research and Extension Station reported that yield is down 30-50% from average at lower elevations, and higher elevations are not much better. There have also been reports of tea trees not surviving drought conditions. The government has initiated a 3-tiered subsidization program that will help farmers replace lost crops and fortify farms with irrigation where possible.
The good news is that our direct sources are successfully coping with these conditions so far, and we are able to source spring tea as usual, although maybe in smaller quantities. We are all looking forward to a "late spring" in the sense that the second yield of 2021 might end up being a winner!
Now that their fields are being left fallow this season, Huang Shui-ho, left, and Yang Kuei-chuan have more time for tea. Credit: An Rong Xu for The New York Times.
The New York Times just published a much broader story on the impact the drought has had on Taiwanese farmers, as well as how the government has been proactive in dealing with these circumstances.