Regarding the Oct. 6 Kyodo article “Farmers switching from green tea to black“: This is a sad story and I feel sorry for the tea farmers who have invested their livelihood into growing a traditional product. At the same time, it must be stated that some of them are licking self-inflicted wounds. For years they have ignored customer demands for pesticide-free products.
Just a few years ago, some farmers proudly told me they were using three times the recommended amount of chemicals on their green tea — to be “on the safe side” — ignoring the demand for “organic” green tea. In Japan, they seem to have lost credibility. Many consumers consider them cheaters for attaching the organic Japanese Agricultural Standards label to heavily chemicalized green tea, and they are not willing to pay the high asking price.
I’m afraid that if farmers don’t adapt to consumer demand and, instead, insist on growing toxic fluoride-laden green tea, they will commit commercial suicide. They should realize that they cannot continue to produce China “quality” at Japanese prices, because nowadays we can analyze the product and the truth will come out.
The simple recipe for Japanese tea farmers is to produce what built their reputation in the first place: superior quality!
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.