Picking tea from bushes planted in 1930 on Kayu Aro Tea Plantation. Founded in 1925 during the Dutch colonial era, it is one of the oldest plantations in Indonesia.
Currently, 90% of tea production is by mechanical harvest, first introduced in 2012. Manual harvesting yields 100kg/day per woman, machine 2MT/day with a crew of five men. The higher quality teas are cut with shears, and the very best quality (the young leaf buds) are picked by hand. The pickers are paid by the weight of the tea they harvest, and the women who cut by hand make an average of 75,000 Rupiah (US$50) per day. Manual harvesting is disappearing, and there are only 24 women still cutting by hand in one 300ha section of 2,300ha total plantation.
- ©2022 George Steinmetz
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