With rich soils, plentiful rainfall and a range of climatic conditions, the lush slopes of the Western Ghats mountain range are the perfect site for the production of a huge variety of spices and coffee as well as some of the world 's best teas. Pepper and other spices brought traders to the Kerala coast for centuries as they sought out the original 'black gold', and later the British desire to wrest control of the world's tea production from China saw the slopes around Munnar transformed into a series of tea estates. In modern times the list of crops grown in the plantations of Kerala is long and varied - you can see coffee, cardamom, pepper, vanilla, nutmeg, clove, pimento and many more, alongside tropical fruits such as mango, bananas and pineapple which grow in profusion. Another important crop is rubber which thrives at lower altitudes closer to the coast.
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