In February, the Indonesia Tea Board met in Bandung to discuss growing pepper alongside tea on selected Indonesian tea estates.
Attending were Rachmat Badrudin, chair of the Indonesia Tea Board, W.D.L. Gunaratne, executive director IPC (International Pepper Community), Nur Haryanto, information officer of IPC, Sofiati Mukadi, vice chair, Indonesia Spice Council, a representative from Directorate General of Estate Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, Spice Research Institute of Indonesia (BALITTRO) and Board of Directors, Pt Kabepe Chakra, which operates a number of tea gardens mainly in West Java.
This meeting followed discussions in November 2014 when Gunaratne made a presentation at a Spice Seminar organized by the Indonesia Spice Council. Intercropping tea with pepper is already a commercial success in Sri Lanka and India, and has been shown to improve productivity of the land and the crops. Intercropping allows farmers to increase their earnings at a time when tea prices are low but white and black pepper prices are high. The group decided that the tea board would establish demonstration plots at selected tea plantations that are suitable for pepper intercropping.