White tea lifts Guizhou county out of poverty
Updated: 2013-01-01 10:31
Ou Daiju, a farmer in Zheng'an in Southwest China's Guizhou province, works hard every day to support his six-member family in this State-level poverty-alleviation county.
Farmers planting tea trees in Zheng'an county, Southwest China's Guizhou province. Zheng'an plans to increase the tea plantation to 27,000 hectares over the next three years from the present 17,000 hectares, as part of its efforts to improve the county's overall living standard. Mu Xiangdong / For China Daily
With a population of 650,000, this mountainous 2,595-square-kilometer county in northern Guizhou saw its rural residents' per capita income reach only 3,701 yuan ($594) last year, or 53 percent of the country's per capita average income for rural residents.
With its karst land formation in a mountainous area, far from modern manufacturing and rich forest plantations, the county found it difficult to engage in mass grain production and hard to improve local people's living standards. However, Ou sees the three geological conditions as a way to make big money.
He made 600,000 yuan by planting tea last year and is expected to earn 9 million yuan this year.
With the policy and financial support of the local government, Ou contracted 40 hectares of a barren mountain area for tea production in 2006, of which 20 hectares have been devoted to Zheng An White Tea production. The tea costs more than 2,500 yuan a kilogram on the Chinese market.
Lured by Ou's fat profits, Zheng'an now has 80,000 farmers engaged in Zheng An White Tea production.
Wang Zhong, Party chief of the Zheng'an government, said at a poverty alleviation seminar held in Beijing this month that the county will produce 60,000 kg of the tea this year, with an estimated income of 150 million yuan.
Wang said that Zheng'an plans to increase the area under tea plantation to 27,000 hectares over the next three years from the present 17,000 hectares, as part of its efforts to improve the overall living standard. "Of that, more than 13,000 hectares will be devoted to Zheng An White Tea plantation," he said.
"The county has pledged to develop Zheng An White Tea into an international brand and a 'green' industry as well, making it a backbone of the local economy. We also take it as a model agriculture industry for the local poverty-alleviation campaign," Wang said.
The State Administration for Industry and Commerce has listed the white tea as one of the national geographical indication brands. White tea is a GI brand valued at more than 100 million yuan, according to a brand appraisal by the Ministry of Agriculture. It was also listed as the luxury tea brand with the most potential in Guizhou by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine last year.