Planting of white tea lights path to prosperity
By taking advantage of a subtropical climate, high altitude and fertile soil, Yanhe county, one of the most poverty-stricken counties in Guizhou province, hopes to shake off poverty by cashing in on the planting of white tea.
A 52-year-old surnamed Liao, who is deaf and mute, didn't have a job before and had to rely on his brother to make a living. Now, he is working as a tea grower and has become self-reliant by making 80 yuan ($11.80) per day.
"We planted the tea in late 2018 and started picking in March last year," said Tan Pengfei, the secretary of the Party committee of Zhongzhai township in Yanhe county. "It is highly suitable to grow white tea here."
"The town has become involved in developing the booming tea industry. By the end of this year, we aim to finish planting a total of 670 hectares of tea gardens. So far, nearly 85 percent of the area has been planted," he said.
More than 300 local families have managed to increase their incomes by tea planting. Now, they can make at least 15,000 yuan annually.
In addition, the town has developed a number of public welfare positions, such as road patrols and forest rangers, and thus it has provided job opportunities for left-behind young women and the elderly who didn't leave the town to work. The local government encourages villagers to make money by working, and their salary is about 800 yuan per month.
Their lives have been changed by a poverty alleviation project supported by tea farmers who became rich by growing white tea in Anji county, Zhejiang province.
In April 2018, they wrote a letter to President Xi Jinping, and said they were willing to donate 15 million tea bush seedlings to help residents living in poor areas. Xi had recognized the idea.
In July 2018, the two sides signed an agreement for a donation of 3.6 million seedlings of white tea. Three months later, the seedlings arrived in Zhongzhai township. More than 1,500 poverty-stricken villagers then landed jobs preparing the soil, such as weeding and fertilizing.
In addition, a team of technical experts from Zhejiang went to Zhongzhai township to guide tea planting, and some companies in Zhejiang also helped connect the county with various sales channels.
By the end of last year, 10,502 people in Zhongzhai township had gotten out of poverty.
Che Weiwei in Yanhe contributed to this story.