Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture will double the budget to revitalize tea plantations in the country, expecting a significant surge on tea production, local newspapers reported.

Indonesia is now the world’s seventh-largest tea producer, after China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Turkey. Indonesia’s tea has the highest catechin (natural antioxidant) content in the world.

The ministry’s spice and herbs director, Azwar Abu Bakar, said land conversion of tea plantations has reached a high level of 2,000 hectares per year in the last five years, resulting in a decline in the country’s tea output to 146,682 tonnes in 2013 from 156,506 tonnes in three year earlier.

In 2013, the country shipped abroad only 70.841 tonnes worth 17.5 million USD, lower than the 87.100 tonnes worth 178.5 million USD recorded in 2010.

The ministry had allocated 50 billion Rp (4.32 million USD) to revitalize 3,200 ha of tea plantations in West Java this year, with a target of 147,704 tonnes in tea output.

West Java was selected because 60 percent of the country’s tea plantations are located in the province. Apart from West Java, the budget will be earmarked for recovering tea planting areas in other localities.-VNA