To celebrate an International Tea Day, a first historic event in Laos, with tea exhibition, cupping session and panel discussions about Lao Tea for everyone to enjoy. It’s two-day event on 4th and 5th of June 2022. Join us and let’s celebrate Lao Tea!
This study was commissioned by the SDC-funded LURAS project to catalogue and learn from the development experience of the Lao tea sector between 2000 and 2021, focusing especially on the period between 2015 and 2021.
Yotpieng Village, located in the Phousan area of Xieng Khouang, produces tea products based on local wild tea trees and tea plantations. The products from Yotpieng have been commercially successful in Laos and China markets, providing a way of life for the local people since 2008.
Yotpieng tea farmers mainly produce “Maocha”, which is an unfinished tea product requiring additional processing. This is favored by tea wholesalers, who purchase the Maocha and finish the product according to their specifications.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in China (late 2019), Yotpieng tea farmers marketed and sold their Maocha to customers based mainly from China. These clients would purchase their product for export to the Chinese markets. The income made by the tea farmers was highly seasonal as the quality of the Maocha decreased during the wet season. This affected product demand and pricing accordingly.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, trade between the Laos-China border became heavily restricted. The tea farmers of Yotpieng village were significantly affected, as Chinese tea wholesalers were no longer able to cross the border and purchase their products. Demand from local tea wholesalers was also reduced, as tea product exports to China were no longer possible from imposed trade restrictions.
To overcome this challenge, Yotpieng village tea farmers, began to process their Maocha tea into packaged tea products for the domestic markets. Their main clients moved from being tea wholesalers to offices, minimarts, restaurants and merchants. This new business model also offered a stable income throughout the year to support their family.
In late 2020, a major purchase contract for Maocha was established with a tea distributor, further enabling Yotpieng village tea farmers to continue their livelihood of producing tea products.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the demand for traditional Yotpieng village Maocha products, the local farmers have risen to the challenge by offering new and innovative products to new customer areas. The farmers have also been able to stabilize their income throughout the year with this new business model.
Mr. Khamphanh – Yotpieng village tea adviser.
Mrs. Manikhone Thepsombath – Tea adviser of LURAS project
Manuals detailing techniques for soil fertility improvement, tea tree planting techniques and tea leaf processing
These techniques are based on demonstration, exchange learning and real practice in Phongsaly province. They were developed in collaboration with the Provincial Agriculture and Forest Office in Phongsaly, Phongsaly Vocational School, Community Organization Participation and Empowerment project (COPE) and the District Agriculture Office, Pu Er, China.
The objectives of these manuals are to support farmers in development of local tea cultivation a better practice, and to therefore earn additional income from tea farming.