Tourism helps farmers in rural China make fortune from tea

Global Business

Tourism helps farmers in rural China make fortune from tea

Green industry and poverty alleviation are expected to be the hottest topics at the Eco Forum Global Annual Conference 2016. The event kicked off Friday in Guiyang, capital of southwest China’s Guizhou province. With its unique geographic and climate features, Guizhou is an ideal place to grow tea.

CCTV’s He Weiwei went to a tea village there to find out how local farmers make a living.

Jinhua village of Meitan County is located in a remote area in Guizhou. Most of the residents are tea farmers.

Xu Xueliang has been growing tea for over 20 years. He said it’s hard work. You have to pick tea leaves in time, rain or shine.

But it isn’t very profitable. The average individual income is only 10,000 yuan, or $1,500 a year.

Guizhou Province tops other areas in China in terms of green tea planting. Cloud cover and moderate sunshine provide ideal conditions for the growth. For local villagers, tea is not only a gift of nature, but also the key to help them out of poverty.

In 2014, the local government started to develop tea tourism. They re-painted houses, built more roads, and tourists started coming to this little-known village.

“We have beautiful scenery, but few people came,” Yang Hong, assistant head of the town of Meijian in Meitan County, said. “Thanks to infrastructure improvements, many now come here to spend weekends and holidays.”

Xueliang was the first in the village to open a restaurant, and he is pleased with the results.

“On average, villagers’ incomes have doubled by developing tourism. Our surroundings also improved a lot,” Xueliang said.

Meitan County now is among the top three tea counties in China. It’s working on introducing its experience to other areas to give more farmers a better life.