Feng shui beehives help tomatoes grow

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The Independent Online

Tomato growers have turned to the oriental teaching of feng shui to boost production.

Experts in the ancient Chinese art have visited glasshouses across the country, advising on the siting of the hives for the 2.5 million bumblebees imported from Belgium and Holland to pollinate the British crop.

Peter Lansdale, chairman of the British Tomato Growers' Association (TGA), said: "I know a lot of people are sceptical about feng shui, but we have a serious problem, with the livelihood of many growers threatened by the continuing strength of sterling and the resultant flood of cheap, long-life, imported tomatoes.

"We saw production rise by nearly 5 per cent last year and, while we don't put it entirely down to the use of rock'n'roll where sound waves help with pollination, it has encouraged us to think laterally and not be afraid of new ideas.

"So we are looking to a new kind of harmony, that of feng shui yin and yang, to help achieve growth and prosperity."

In the Far East, companies have traditionally used feng shui in every aspect of their operations, from the siting and design of a new building to remedies for ailing businesses.

Its use in British tomato growing is a first for both the growers and the practitioners. One thing growers and feng shui have in common is their respect for the bumblebee.

Gerry Hayman, independent horticultural adviser to the TGA, said: "The bee is a symbol of industry in Chinese philosophy. One bumblebee does the work of 100 honeybees, visiting 400 flowers in a trip and making five trips a day."