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French farmers could be looking to export a highly profitable commodity to Britain after plantations were established in the south of the country.

Tea plantations have cropped up in the south and northwest of France, with some growers claiming that exporting their product to China and Japan – some of the largest tea drinkers in the world – would be expensive and that British markets posed a better prospect.

One plantation owner, Jean-Marc Sanchez, harvested 50kg of tea last year at Les Plantations d’Acapella, near Perpignan.

However, Sanchez said he expects to produce 300kg this year.

He said: “The greenhouses shelter the tea plants from the wind, which tends to dry them out and we’ve got solar panels over them to provide shade.

“Tea plants like warmth but not too much direct sun and we’re only 3km from the Mediterranean.”

Sanchez added that he had been asked to supply tea to the far-eastern nations, but declined as the transport costs would be too much and he does not produce large enough quantities yet to make it worthwhile.

He added: “However, I would definitely be interested in supplying tea to the UK, with its historic love of tea.

“It’s only a couple of hours’ flight from Toulouse and I’m planning to increase production to one or two tonnes a year in the future.”

Is it an insult to Britons to import French-grown tea? Vote not in our poll above and have your say in the comments below.

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