Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Dynamic decade

A fresh brew improves fortunes for villagers

By CANG WEI in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2022-07-22 09:47
Share - WeChat

Almost every morning, Yang Jianhua gets up early to patrol the tea plantations on Xishan, an island surrounded by the sparkling waters of Taihu Lake in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

After working at the Suzhou Electric Power Company, Yang was sent by the local government to Yaluli village in Jinting township to serve as Party chief for four years, during which time he helped villagers develop a black tea industry and raise themselves from poverty.

Since 2015, Suzhou has been asking Party members from the government, State-owned companies and government-affiliated institutions to serve in economically underdeveloped villages to help improve financial and living conditions.

For seven years, young Party members have moved to villages from cities and from different levels of government.

As one of those members, Yang was sent to the village and was able to do an effective job.

Located on the biggest island in picturesque Taihu Lake, Yaluli village was one of the main producers of biluochun, a well-known type of green tea in China. Sales accounted for about 60 percent of the yearly incomes of local farmers.

However, green tea can only be produced during a period of three to four months, while black tea can be produced for three seasons each year. The village's youth generally preferred to leave to find work in cities because picking tea buds is hard work and the roasting process takes years of experience.

As a result of limited production, low sales and a shortage of labor, the future of green tea in Yaluli, which is home to about 2 million square meters of tea, seemed bleak.

"I noticed that an increasing number of young people were showing an interest in black tea after doing some market research," Yang said. "Except for actually picking the tea, all the other processes involved in production could be mechanized, so we decided to make biluochun black tea, but it took a while to persuade the villagers to accept the idea."

Yang and his colleagues invited experts from the Tea Research Institute at the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences and local tea masters to help them develop black tea production methods, and were able to successfully persuade one of the farmers to make the first batch of the new tea.

The product proved extremely popular on the market. More villagers got involved and a black tea factory was set up to expand production in 2018, producing sales of more than 1 million yuan ($148,200) later that year.

In the four years since, the village has made more than 18 million yuan, with profits in excess of 1.5 million yuan, causing annual incomes to increase by some 1,000 yuan.

"Bringing the people together was crucial to accomplishing the mission," Yang said. "No matter what difficulties we faced, it was always about communication. Most people are understanding and supportive if you communicate properly."

Guo Jun contributed to this story.



Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349