A new study funded by Farming Connect is looking at the possibility of growing tea successfully on Welsh hill farms. Although tea is grown successfully in a few areas in the UK, the crop is considered as one that is difficult to grow in the UK due to climate conditions.
Mandy Lloyd is to use land on Cleobury Farm near Knighton to grow the crop at scale for the firs time on a hill farm in Britain. As there are different types of land on the farm, Mandy has decided to plant a hundred and forty Camelia sinensis tea bushes in different areas to understand where they grow best. By following geo-spatial analysis techniques looking at the consistency and quality of the crops produced, the quality of land on which they are planted, climate factors such as light and rain measurements, along with growth measurements of the bushes, a detailed picture of the best conditions for the tea plants can be produced.
Mandy Lloyd said:
‘We are trying crop diversification with the aim of improving profitability within our agricultural business whilst protecting the environment, improving diversity and producing a high-end crop long-term.’’
‘There is a need for an environmentally and socially responsible food and drink local supply chain, providing consumers with nutritious products, long term,’’ Mandy suggests.’
‘Keeping profits local brings wider benefits, with a thriving local economy and increased spend, resulting in an increased supply and further job opportunities, creating cohesive communities.’
The Try Out Fund by Farming Connect offers up to £5000 towards projects that enact innovative ideas on farms in Wales. To learn more about the scheme, visit Farming Connect’s website.