Sustainable Tea Farming
Rize, which is one of the world's number one tea production centers, launched an important project on the protection of soil health, which forms the basis of sustainable tea farming. TEMA Foundation, the reference NGO in the field of soil protection in Turkey, has combined its expertise in this area with Turkey's largest private sector tea producer, Dogus Çay. The introductory meeting of the awareness project that Doğus Çay will be bearing with the TEMA Foundation in the name of "For Every Demirt Earth" was realized with a press meeting attended by local representatives of Rize.
Doğuş Tea, Turkey's largest private sector tea company, is preparing to sign an important social responsibility project in the soil where it is born, in order to cultivate Rize's natural richness and the most important source of livelihood, in the best conditions, with the same flavor and quality. "Each Steep is for the Soil" project, which will take place with the cooperation of TEMA Foundation, which carries out important projects with the knowledge and experience for many years in the field of protecting the soil and natural assets of Turkey ntroduced in Rize in a press conference joined by.Doğuş Çay Board Member Harika Karakan Batalli, TEMA Foundation Chairman Deniz Atac And TEMA Foundation Rize Representative Nevzat Özer.
TEMA Foundation Chair Deniz Ataç emphasizing that they are very happy to cooperate with Doğuş Çay for a education project aiming at protecting the soil to ensure the sustainability of tea farming in Rize said these words:
“Doğu Karadeniz’de çay tarımının kuşaklar boyu devam etmesinin odağında toprak sağlığının ve çay bahçelerine komşu ekosistemlerin korunması yer alıyor. In this regard, we need to unite our forces. Since its foundation in 1992, the TEMA Foundation has acted on the principle that protecting the soil which is source of life means protecting life. Protecting soil is not only about preventing erosion, it is a holistic preservation of soil ecosystem with all components. This is the basis of sustainable life. She stated that in order to contribute to the sustainable tea farming that protects soil health and neighboring ecosystems in the Eastern Black Sea Region, the main objective of the 'Each Steep is for the Soil' project, which we will carry out in cooperation with Doğuş Tea, is to raise awareness about soil health in tea gardens in Eastern Black Sea.
TEMA Foundation Chairman Ataç, continued: "Investigations that have been done show, when we listen to the tea maker in person, the transfers that the soil in the tea gardens in Rize has gradually acidified and the tea plant has begun to go beyond the proper growing conditions. As the acidity in the soil increases, it changes the physical and organic structure of the soil. The water holding capacity of the soil is decreasing, the avalanche is decreasing, the permeability of the soil is gradually decreasing. This threatens the sustainability of tea cultivation and the quality and yield of tea. Our primary goal with this project is to raise awareness among all stakeholders. To convey the scientific facts and precautions that can be taken to all the sectors in this area, starting from the producers, who are in the tea cultivation in the region, who have the influence. We need to combine our strengths in the East Black Sea today and in the future to continue contributing to the people of the region."
"If there is no soil, there is no tea; this project is aimed at finding the solution with the producer "
Deniz Atac shared the information that 88.8% of the tea gardens in Turkey in the 1960s had the pH value suitable for tea plant, and in 2011 this rate decreased to 13.7%. Drawing attention to the importance of the project, explained the change in the tea production is as follows: "Especially after the 1970s, varieties of fertilizers used in tea gardens caused significant changes in tea grounds. It turned the soils in the tea gardens too acidic. Along with acidification, the organisms that gave life to the earth gradually decreased. The use of high-dose fertilizers causes the producers to suffer material losses as well as soil degradation and nitrate pollution in rivers. Since the sustainable management of soils is the basis for sustainable tea production, it is urgent to promote sustainable tea farming activities in the region that improve soil health and meet the needs of tea plants. Let's not forget that if there is no soil, there is no tea." Deniz Ataç, indicating that the most urgent subject in tea cultivation is the health of the soil, continued as follows: "One of the most important elements that add value to this project is that it is being structured at the interaction center of educational activities. We want to reach the most correct solutions by not only transferring information to the groups to be trained but also by listening to their experiences and combining them with expert knowledge. We will base manufacturers’ observations on tea soils while touching the soil. By allowing them to think through the observations they have expressed, we will first make them aware of the problem. Awareness will bring together a search for remedy. It will be possible to adopt these remedies in a real sense by producing the remedies with the producers also."
Harika Karakan Batallı: "It is both our dream and responsibility for the growth of tea in the soil we are born, forever"
Doğuş Çay Board Member Harika Karakan Batallı stated that the foundation of Doğuş Çay was launched in Rize in 1985 and he emphasized that as a company born and branded from these lands, the tea continues to be at the center of their life. Reminding that tea is one of the most important products of the Eastern Black Sea Region, Batalli said, “It is both a dream and a responsibility for us for the future growth of tea in the land we are born into." Batalli shares the knowledge that Turkey ranks first in tea consumption and fifth in the production in the world, "Tea is a product that carries vital value for the people and economy of the region. The tea, which has a nearly century of past, is also a sociological element. The sustainability of tea agriculture, it being effective and productive, is an extremely important priority for all segments."
"The tea farming lands are hardens, urgent measures are needed"
As Doğuş Çay, Wonderful Karakan Batalli, which aims to increase the awareness of the producers and all the sectors affecting the producers for a year with the project "Each Steep is for the Land" which they started with TEMA, aims them to see the solutions of the troubles in their lands continued as follows: We, as Doğuş Çay, are in constant contact with the producers. Our field experts, our purchasing specialists, our engineers closely follow the problems of tea farmers, the yield in the soil and the tea itself. When we talk to producers in Rize and generally in the Eastern Black Sea, almost all now say that their land is getting harder and harder. Most producers, for a long time, say: 'There is not even a worm on the ground'. This suggests that there is changes in even the structure of microorganisms in the soil and that the physical properties of the soil have gone worse. If measures are not taken, we face the danger that the yield and quality of the tea will decrease in the future in the Eastern Black Sea."
"Additional to the 600 producers, also women, children, teachers, clergy and experts will be trained.
As Doğuş Çay, Harika Karakan Batallı stated that they were starting with a project with TEMA cooperation which will take a year will have 'micro-family operation' in the center of it, were in the process of 600 producers were expected to benefit from a specially designed training program during the project. Batalli who stated that there are teachers, religious officers and experts who are defined as the influence leaders and women and children in their social surroundings as well as the producers: "All the groups in the target population of the project are presented with information studies about the soil conditions, plant nutrition, fertilization, pruning, harvesting and soil management by TEMA with theoretical and practical methods. Doğuş Çay professionals and experts will also actively participate in the project.