Lao villagers enjoy better lives through Chinese tea

There are only 800 people in the village that is home to the planation, and before the garden opened more than half of them lived in poverty. After the 36 Manor company came, villagers switched to planting tea and working in the tea plantation. There are very few, four or five, poor households remaining, said the village chief.

by Chanthaphaphone Mixayboua, Zhang Jianhua

VIENTIANE, April 1 (Xinhua) -- A tea garden in Paksong district of Champasak province has been good news for local people, providing them with a better lifestyle than they have ever known.

The plantation, which is owned by Lao Manor, a China-Laos joint venture, is one of the largest tea companies in Laos.

"In recent years, local people have built many new houses by selling tea to us," said Hu Xiaofeng. The factory not only processes 36 Manor tea plantations' tea, but also encourages nearby villagers to plant their own tea, which the factory purchases.

"I can pick as much as 10 kg each day. I make 10,000 kips (about 0.8 U.S. dollars) per kg," said Joy Keoduangta. The 24-year-old has been working in the 36 Manor plantation for four years. She can earn more than 100,000 kips (about eight U.S. dollars) a day from picking tea, about double the amount that is earned in nearby factories.