Tea leaf picking in the highlands of Malaysia
The Cameron Highlands is probably my favourite place in Malaysia. The cool air. The mountains. The amazing food and rural aspect of it all. On a visit to one of the tea plantations I was taken back by how old school it still was when it came to picking tea leaves.
It’s still done by hand. Although the machines are coming …
The story behind this photograph
Nepalese and Indonesians make up most of the tea leaf picking workforce in Malaysia. Cheap labor. It’s been that way for decades and will probably remain so for many more to come.
Women and men pick tea leaves by hand. There’s no other way to do. Depending on the type of tea leaf they are picking machines simply can’t navigate such a landscape in such a delicate manner.
Today the top of the bushels are harvested by a modified hedge trimmer with a collector at the back. It’s faster than by hand. But it can’t manage the sides.
It’s here in this photograph that we can see both a woman picking tea leaves by hand and two men picking tea leaves with a machine.
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