The Institute of Research for Development of France (IRD-France) is expecting to set up a site for experimentation of its new fertilization bio-organic technology in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The institute is collaborating with tea gardens in Yunnan, the institute's director Jean-Anne Ville said Monday in Beijing. He is here for the Fair France-China 2001.
The technology is to help bring earthworms that have disappeared from tea gardens because of use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides back to the tea gardens, which means a natural fertilizing process for the green plant.
"Earthworms had long lived in farmland and tea gardens before people started to use fertilizer and pesticide," said Patrick Lavelle, director of Ecology Laboratory under IRD-France. "What we do is to restore the natural process."
More than ten years of research have proven that earthworms are able to increase soil fertility and productivity of plants, he said.
Chinese tea is popular in France but the increasing use of pesticide and fertilizer in tea planting will cause Chinese tea to lose its market share in Europe as more attention is directed to the safety of agricultural products, Ville said.
"In India, tea gardens, after 80 years of intensive cultivation, have witnessed impoverished soil and worsening environment," Ville said. "China still has the chance to avoid a similar tragedy."
According to the International Tea Committee, China produced 680,040 tons of tea last year, the second largest amount in the world following India.
The technology, jointly developed by the IRD-France and Indian-based Parry Agro Industries Ltd., has proven effective, Lavelle said. Tea production in the testing site in India, on a comparable basis, was 79.5 percent more than in other areas that used chemical fertilizer.
(People's Daily November 26, 2001)