Wuzhishan heads for full ecological chain tourism

By Zhang Jiaqi
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 21, 2017

In recent years, Wuzhishan, a city in China's Hainan Province, has developed a new landmark. Known as the organic tea gardens, they not only constitute the beautiful scenery of the city, but also contribute to a vibrant industry, poverty relief and the integrated development of agriculture and tourism. Now, the city is heading for a full ecological chain of tourism centered upon the organic tea plantations.

"We plan to build it into a cultural tea garden of Wuzhishan, boosting tourism by carrying forward the tea industry." Zheng Lijuan, president of Wuzhishan Tea Association said at a recreation pavilion in an organic tea garden in Wuzhishan, a city in China's Hainan Province.

 Yexian Organic Tea Garden constitutes the beautiful scenery of the Shuiman Town of Wuzhishan City in China’s Hainan Province. [Photo by ZengJie/hinews.cn]

The Yexian Organic Tea Garden constitutes the beautiful scenery of the Shuiman Town of Wuzhishan City in China’s Hainan Province. [Photo by ZengJie/hinews.cn]

Zheng is referring to the Yexian Organic Tea Garden which she manages. Surrounded by tropical rainforest in Shuiman Town of Wuzhishan City, the black tea here uses no fertilizers or pesticides.

"I have always believed that if we stick to the right path, then we will yield substantial development." Zheng proudly said. Now, the concept of organic planting she has been upholding has been acknowledged and practiced among many tea gardens here and she is energetically pushing forward the model of tea garden plus tourism.

Organic tea garden produces high-quality products

"To plant tea trees requires patience, and you have to treat it like raising a baby." Zheng said.

In the organic tea garden she manages, she has been promoting a compost which takes long to make as well as thee time-consuming process of manually weeding rather than using compound fertilizers and pesticides. The use period of the soil can therefore be extended, while limiting chemical pollution.

It is her preference to let the tea trees grow under the favorable natural conditions of the city consisting of fertile land, abundant sunshine, great temperature ranges, clean air water, a city with a forest coverage rate of 86.44 percent and annual sunshine duration of around 2,000 hours.

Her efforts have proved fruitful in creating a tea with a delightful aroma, an enduring flavor and a crystal clear color of amber. The black tea with one bud and two leaves even boasts a high proportion of tea polyphenol of over 35 percent.

However, the yield of the tea garden compared against teagrown using compound fertilizers was not satisfactory. The Yexian Organic Tea Garden produces only 90 to 120 kilograms per acre. Notwithstanding this, Zheng knows that she had chosen the right path.

"The organic way may yield not as much tea, but it guarantees high quality, and more importantly, protects the water and soil for the sustainable development of not only the tea garden but also the ecology of the neighborhood." Zheng said.

From tea to tea-themed tourism

Through sheer perseverance, the Wuzhishan Black Tea, a brand of the Yexian Organic Tea Garden, has become a well-known brand of the city and even the country. It has been served at the Boao Forum for Asia, and has been awarded as an Agro-product Geographical Indicator by China's Ministry of Agriculture. Online sales of the product are also performing well according to Zheng.

But the vision of Wuzhishan city and Zheng are not limited to the tea industry alone. Instead, the city began to consider increasing the vitality of the tourism sector by combining it with the tea industry.

As a city in central Hainan, Wuzhishan offers pleasant weather throughout the year. Located at the confluence of the tropical rainy climate and oceanic monsoon climate, the city has neither a cold winter nor a hot summer with an annual average temperature of 20.5 Celsius degrees and a relative humidity of 84 percent.

"The conducive environment here for the tea trees to grow is no doubt a favorable place for tourists to visit and enjoy the charm of the tea aroma and whilst letting the power of the natural environment calm them down." Zheng said, after taking a deep breath to enjoy the fresh and sweet air among the tea trees.

With such favorable natural conditions in the neighborhood, Zheng is now pushing forward to build the Yexian Tea Garden into an integrated tea-themed accommodation, recreation, and cultural experience. Besides the tea itself, gourmet meals made from tea and tea-making ceremonies have been offered for tourists to experience and view, and according to Zheng, tea-themed houses, tea-leaf picking experience, and much more will also be offered for the tourists to relax and enjoy.

"In this way, we aim to build the tea garden, a place for planting tea trees and picking tea leaves, into more of a scenic spot with a full ecological chain of tourism." Zheng said, with confidence.

Benefiting the neighborhood by offering jobs

The thriving tea trees constitute the beautiful scenery on this piece of land, and at the same time, the prosperity of the tea garden also creates jobs for farmers in the neighborhood.

Wang Chunhua lives only a few hundred meters away from the tea garden. In the past, she farmed the land to provide for her mother and her brother. Four years ago, she got a job as a tea leaf picker. Now, the 50-year-old can earn 80 yuan every day, which can cover the expenses of her 80-year-old mother and herself.

"I can come any day I like, and I don't need to come on rainy days." She said with a smile on her face, while continuing to pick tea leaves with a bamboo basket on her back.

There are 60 to 70 local women in total working here now according to Zheng. Some work as tea pickers, picking the tea leaves and weeding, while some work as tea-making ceremony performers as the model of tea garden plus tourism comes into practice.

"They don't have to go far away to work, and for those who have elderly to take care of at home, we offer them a job nearby." Zheng said, with a familiar confidence in her eyes.

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