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Industry News

  -Green Tea May Protect Against Stomach Disorder

  - Tea industry foresees better days ahead as prices firm up, export potential rises

  - Record tea sale of ceylon tea

  - Darjeeling tea is passe, Nepal's the new brand

Green Tea May Protect Against Stomach Disorder

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A regular cup of green tea may help prevent chronic stomach inflammation that can lead to stomach cancer, a new study shows.

A number of studies have suggested green tea drinkers have lower odds of developing stomach cancer compared with people who favor other types of leaves or refuse tea altogether. Now new research suggests a possible route green tea takes in cutting stomach cancer risk--it may lower the odds of chronic gastritis, long-term stomach inflammation that can precede cancer.

In a study of more than 600 Chinese men and women, researchers found that green tea drinkers were about half as likely as non-drinkers to have stomach cancer or gastritis. In China, stomach cancer is the most common cancer among men and women.

A team led by Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang of the University of California, Los Angeles, reports the findings in the May issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

``This is the first time that green tea drinking was found to protect against chronic gastritis,'' Zhang said in a statement. ``The study suggests that using green tea to treat chronic gastritis and as a preventive therapy in high-risk populations would reduce the incidence of stomach cancer in the long term.''

Zhang and his colleagues came to their conclusions after examining health and lifestyle factors among men and women with stomach cancer or gastritis, and among healthy individuals. They questioned the participants on their diets, smoking and drinking habits, family history of digestive cancers and other factors that might affect their risk of stomach disorders.

The investigators found that the healthy individuals were more likely than patients with either stomach condition to be green tea drinkers. Even after considering other health factors, green tea consumption was linked to lower odds of gastritis and stomach cancer. And the more often and longer people drank green tea, the lower their stomach cancer risk was.

Experts believe that a number of factors can raise the risk of stomach cancer--including diets high in smoked and salted meats but low in produce and fiber, smoking, family history of the disease and previous stomach surgery. In addition, infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which can cause chronic gastritis and ulcers, has been linked to stomach cancer--although the vast majority of people who harbor the bacteria do not develop the cancer.

In an interview with Reuters Health, Zhang noted that while green tea has taken on health-food status in the US, in China the beverage often goes hand-in-hand with drinking and smoking. ''People use it to treat hangovers,'' he said.

This, according to Zhang, argues against the idea that green tea drinkers in China have a generally healthful lifestyle that wards off disease.

How green tea might protect the stomach is unclear. But Zhang pointed out that the beverage contains antioxidants, which help prevent damage to healthy cells. Since green tea has significantly less caffeine than coffee does, having a couple of cups per day would likely bring health benefits with no downside, according to Zhang.

SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer 2001;92:600-604.

Reuters Health 21.05.2001)

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Tea industry foresees better days ahead as prices firm up, export potential rises

THERE seems to be a grand party round the corner for the domestic tea industry. For the sector, which has been down and out for the past one year or so following crash in prices along with mounting production cost and lack of external demand, it seems that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. If the latest figures are anything worthy to be considered, the tea prices have been firming up for the past two months and there is happy news from the export front too. According to the latest figures published by the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the average tea prices during the January-March period this year zoomed by 10 per cent compared to a 5.5 per cent fall in the same period previous year and a 20 per cent decline in the corresponding period in 1999. From Rs 60.44 per kg in December last, prices have recovered to Rs 73.85 per kg in January this year and steadily increased since then on year-on-year basis. According to the figures, the prices stood at Rs 68.97 per kg and Rs 55.66 per kg during the subsequent months registering a growth of 12 per cent and eight per cent respectively. Similarly, the export market, which turned cold to Indian tea for reasons more than one, has also warmed up during the early months this year. While in quantity terms, exports increased by a whopping 20 per cent in December last and another 26 per cent in January this year, in rupee terms the growth was to the tune of 19 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, according to CMIE's Monthly Review of Indian Economy, May issue. The major export destinations were traditional markets like Russia and United Arab Emirates. Besides, Indian tea has also found takers in new markets like the US, UK and Germany, the report said. The major reason for the reversal of fortunes for the better for Indian tea is a drastic fall in production during the period, which in turn help prices perk up. From a total of 38,922 tonne in December last, tea production has progressively declined to 20,795 tonne in January and to 16,252 tonne in February.

The Financial Express 19.05.2001)

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Record tea sale of ceylon tea

Catalogues for the sale of May 29/30 which closed this week, carry the highest ever quantity of 8.7 million kilos, up 22% on the 7.2 million kg on offer next week, an Asia Siyaka Report said.

The previous record of 8.4 million kg was for the first sale in June 2000. The large weight was achieved by increasing the number of lots and not from higher production. "In general, around 10,000 lots are allowed per sale," official sources said. But in this instance, it has been increased to around 12,000, because of the backlog created, due to the recent holidays, they said. (PA)

The Island 19 May 2001

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Darjeeling tea is passe, Nepal's the new brand

Will Nepal be Darjeeling's nemesis ? No, it is not tourism that is threatened. It's tea. The famed Darjeeling brand is facing a crisis of sorts. Not that its quality has dwindled, enough to put the fear of god in the minds of the producers there, the problem is emerging from elsewhere.

Consumer interest in Germany, Japan, Netherlands and a few others countries, known to savour the silky golden flavour of the Darjeeling teas, have begun investing in tea production efforts in the hilly terrains of Nepal.

The intention is to develop Darjeeling-type teas, which they can lift at virtually a third of what a good quality Darjeeling will usually fetch. Obviously, thee is a strong commercial interest there.

In a recent tea seminar held in Kathmandu, tea buyers announced their intention to found the development of about 10,000 hectares of the Nepal hills, completely dedicated to making Darjeeling-type teas. Evidently they are encouraged by what has emerged in recent years.

Armed with clones of Darjeeling varieties, some tea producers in Nepal have managed to develop tea bushes which are similar in taste and aroma.

Without the huge statutory liability as their counterparts in Darjeeling have, the Nepal tea producers are able to market this tea directly to customers in Europe and Japan at prices which are a pittance, compared to the original Darjeeling tea.

Evidently, this phenomenon is a major threat to Darjeeling's future. The tea producers here are decidedly jittery. "How can you compete with Nepal when they can sell so cheap?" asks a Darjeeling tea producer.

While it is true that Nepal, as of now, produces somewhere in the region of half a million kilograms of such teas, it has managed to apply a huge pressure on the prices of original Darjeeling teas. This is because of the changing sentiment in markets which seek the Darjeeling flavour and aroma.

Alarmed at the development, the tea producers, along with the Tea Board, have urged the Union government to permit auctions in Kolkata to sell Nepal-made tea.

Since the key issue is the price, the Nepal tea producers will quickly realize the values their teas are capable of fetching and hence will not fall prey to low values offered by foreign buyers.

Indian tea producers feel it is the only answer to the rapidly disintegrating fortunes of the Darjeeling teas. The sooner the government realizes this, the better it is going to be for not only the Darjeeling teas but the entire economy of the hill region, often referred to as the Queen of the Himalayas.

The Economic Times 19.05.2001

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