Business / Industries

Officials, businesses seek to aid tea trade

By Li Yu and Peng Chao in Chengdu (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-21 07:24

The local government and tea companies are trying to boost the tea industry in Ya'an, one of China's largest tea production areas, a year after the region was hit by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake.

Although the tea fields were almost unscathed, the tea industry in Ya'an suffered a great loss as leaves were left unpicked in the fields at peak season.

Officials, businesses seek to aid tea trade
White tea enters tea picking season in east China 

Officials, businesses seek to aid tea trade
 Amazing view of tea fields in NW China

"Many of the dealers left for safety reasons. The workers, most of whom live in the quake-stricken area, went home to take care of their families and rebuild their houses," said Yang Yongxiang, director of Mingshan district's tea industry development bureau.

Mingshan district is the main tea producing area in Ya'an. It has about 20,000 hectares of tea fields and 200,000 workers who pick the leaves. Tea has long been the main source of income for people there.

Official statistics show that 365 of the 1,000 tea makers in the district were affected by the quake, causing a direct economic loss of about 540 million yuan ($86.83 million).

The quake, together with a harsh frost earlier in the year, led to a 42 percent decrease in the district's tea production in March and a 55 percent decrease in April from the previous year.

Yang said the district is trying to boost its tea industry with reconstruction funds of more than 100 million yuan, mostly from the central government.

"As much as 31 million yuan was used to breed better varieties and 57.4 million yuan to reconstruct the industry," Yang said at the Mingshan Tea Breeding Ground, one of the nation's first six tea breeding centers.

The center has bred two national-level varieties since its establishment in 1987. One variety has been planted in tea fields nationwide covering a combined area of more than 133,000 hectares, about 7 percent of the country's total, Yang said.

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