How much would you pay for tea grown using panda poo as fertiliser? Apparently it will sell for $3,165 dollars per 500 grams. Panda-loving Chinese entrepreneur, An Yanshi, started growing the tea in the mountains of Ya'an. And he says that price tag would make his organic product the world's "most expensive tea". Citing scientific research, An chose to use the poo of pandas because of their high nutritional value. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) AN YANSHI, FOUNDER OF "PANDA TEA", SAYING: "The digestive and absorption abilities of the panda are not good. They keep eating and they keep producing faeces. They are like a machine that is churning out organic fertiliser. Also, they absorb less than 30 percent of the nutrition from the food and that means more than 70 percent of the nutrients are passed out in their faeces." An has been collecting tonnes of excrement from pandas housed at the Chengdu and Ya'an panda research base to grow his prized crop. He said he hopes his brand of tea would push more people in China to look at innovative ways to help save the environment. Despite this, some tea lovers were not impressed by his plans to sell the tea at such a high price. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 49-YEAR-OLD LI XIMING, SAYING: "It's sold at such a sky-high price, perhaps this is just hype. I don't think the most expensive tea in the country is sold at such a price. In the past, people were hyping up Pu'er tea, but in the end when prices stabilise they were still sold at around 100 yuan (16 U.S. dollars) per half a kilo." An's "Panda Tea" is a version of green tea that can only be harvested manually by tea farmers used to picking young tea shoots. So if you want to sip some of this tea, you will have to wait till its official launch in the market in April. Sophia Soo, Reuters.
March 19 - Chinese tea plantation gets boost from panda poo fertilizer. Sophia Soo reports. ( Transcript )
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