In the eastern Black Sea town of Rize the first tea plantations were laid out on the region’s steep, scrubby coastal slopes in Ottoman times.

Turkey is the world’s fifth-largest producer of tea and Turks drink more tea than in other countries. However; due to travel restrictions, tea growers in this region are in desperate need of tea-pickers.

Officials recently “restricted movements of some 100,000 people, who live in Istanbul but want to travel to the Black Sea provinces, to harvest tea in their land plots there, in a bid to curb the coronavirus spread in the region”. There are also around 40,000 foreign workers who cannot come to the region due to the borders being closed.

District governors have set up a “harvest commission” and in the province of Riza, the governor’s office are working on a road map to try and find a solution to the problem.

Possible workers may include university students who returned to their hometowns due to the coronavirus outbreak and people who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

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