Joy of Harvest: A Song of Thanksgiving from Chinese Tea Farmers
Zhuoya Lu is the Fairtrade Liaison Officer in China. She recently traveled to Guzhang County to conduct a training with tea farmers on how to use the Fairtrade Premium they receive after selling their tea on Fairtrade terms. Cooperatives and workers’ groups democratically decide on how to spend the funds to improve their community or businesses.
After my recent training, an older member of the 52-member Guzhang Gaofeng Organic Tea Farmer Association explained that “compared with last time you visited, we are better off. We used to have a hard time. Selling tea through Fairtrade markets enables us to build our lives.”
The goal of our training was to educate members on how to manage Fairtrade Premium money well and improve understanding and awareness of Fairtrade in general. Around 15 farmer leaders and an exporter attended. All of the farmers are from the Tujia and Miao ethnic minorities living in mountainous areas. Guzhang County, which is located in Southwest China, has a long history of tea growing and its “Guzhang Maojian” is one of the most famous green teas in China.
“Thanks to Fairtrade sales, we receive the Premium. We use this to repair roads and we bought a truck to transport fertilizer and tea,” said Long Mei, 70, after the training. “Our future plan is to sell more tea, gain more Premium and carry out more projects. We want to repair the road from the homes to tea farms and have a big space to dry fresh tea leaves.”
In this film, Long Mei and her sister sing Joy of harvest. The lyrics are: “ We have harvest, we have money, we like tea, we receive happiness.”