Plantation Industry

Plantations are of three types: Tree plantations like oil, coconut, rubber, cocoa and coffee. Field crops like sugarcane and banana. Annual crops like cotton, jute, tobacco and groundnut. Tree plantations have high gestation period and unlike annual crops land has to kept unproductive for years. Hence it is not preferred by small farmers.

Cocoa Plantations

Cocoa needs wet and warm climate which is available in Ghana as it lies in the equatorial belt. Large labor force is needed as mechanization can’t be used cocoa fruit needs to be plucked with hand. Ports available for export to high demand markets like Europe and US. Ghana doesn’t have the market nor the infrastructure or skilled manpower needed for cocoa processing into finished products. It doesn’t process cocoa before exporting as cocoa loses flavor quickly so importing nation needs to do processing.   

Rubber Plantations

Rubber is obtained from Latex which is taken from rubber tree. A delicate incision is made without damaging the tree. Then sap is collected by cups. This requires high number of cheap and skilled labor. Rubber trees can’t tolerate cold weather so tropical climate suitable also moisture needs are high. Vulcanization process was invented so natural rubber found many applications. The synthetic rubber was invented by US scientists and it affected demand for natural rubber.

Malaysian Industry

Malaysia is an equatorial country and so climate is suitable for rubber plantations. The research and development has led to newer techniques for collecting sap. Government policy encourages re-planting of rubber trees as newer trees yield 3-4 times more rubber. Also strict quality control norms for export mean that quality is stable and product is respected in market.

Sugarcane Plantations

Sugarcane has high weight loss as a raw material for sugar. Only 10% by weight of sugarcane can be converted to sugar. The sugar mills that manufacture coarse brown sugar use sugarcane as input and so need to be located closer to the source of raw material. Sugarcane also loses sugar content after cutting so needs to be processed fast. Sugar mills produce Bagasse [energy source, pulp and paper industry] and molasses [ethanol] along with press mud [waste]. Bagasse is used for energy production.

Sugar refineries use brown coarse sugar and get refined sugar. As weight loss or shelf life isn’t a problem refineries can be located at ports where the use imported sugar or near markets.

Indian sugar industry is located mostly in Maharashtra and UP. Maharashtra has strong labor force and high area under cultivation. Sugarcane cooperatives are present. Crushing season is longer and sugar content is high as weather is moderate due to influence of oceans.Capital requirements are met and Mumbai region serves as a port and a market for sugar.

Cuba : Sugar bowl of the world

Hot climate and North east trade winds made climate suitable for sugarcane. The American capital was heavily invested in bringing more land under cultivation. Fertile, calciferous soil is present in Cuba. USA and Europe are the world’s largest sugar markets and so demand is high.

Tea and Coffee plantations

Factors affecting Tea plantation:

  1. Tea plantation is done in areas having high population density. The task of weeding, pruning, manuring and plucking needs highly skilled labor. Since tea needs to be grown on hill tops mechanization is needed.
  2. Even while drying, rolling, fermentation and packaging of tea skilled manpower is needed. So tea plantation is done in areas that are having high population density.
  3. Tea processing is done in plantation areas as high weight loss is seen.
  4. Tea can’t tolerate stagnant water so grown on hill tops and also can’t tolerate cold.

British Tea industry thrived during the colonization period. Tea was imported from colonies like India, China and exported to European nations. The post-colonization era was a major problem as colonies now directly exported to European regions.

Tea industry of Darjeeling

  1. Darjeeling climate has low temperature and morning fog that gives high grade leaf. Densely populated neighboring regions and presence of tea estates mean the skilled labor is abundant.
  2. Soil is potash rich and has good quality.
  3. Demand is high in domestic and foreign markets and proximity to Kolkata ports is a major advantage.
  4. Since tea is grown on hills stagnant water isn’t a problem.

The Darjeeling tea industry is due to British efforts as they developed an alternate industry as indigo plantations weren’t giving good results.

Coffee industry

Coffee is grown on hill slopes as it can’t tolerate water-logging. It needs to be protected from excess sunlight atleast in the initial stages. The coffee berry has to be hand picked and since plantations are on hill slopes the mechanization is also not possible. Coffee loses flavor after roasting and so only preliminary processing is done in the home country and remaining in the importing country.

Brazil Coffee Industry

  1. Volcanic soil remains productive for years without any added fertilizers.
  2. Labor is abundant in Brazil as it is densely populated.
  3. Special rail and road transport for connecting estates with ports and markets.
  4. Coffee has universal demand amongst nations.
  5. Climate is suitable due to sea breeze and also tall leguminous plants are grown that provide shade to coffee crops.

Questions for UPSC Mains

Explain the factors responsible for growth of Sugar industry in Cuba and Maharashtra

Explain the factors responsible for growth of Coffee industry in Brazil

Explain the factors responsible for growth of Cocoa industry in Ghana

Explain the factors responsible for growth of Rubber industry in Malaysia

Explain the factors responsible for growth of Tea industry in Darjeeling