China Sustainability and Poverty Alleviation Through Tea

C h i n a S u s t a i n a b i l i t y a n d P o v e r t y A l l e v i a t i o n T h r o u g h T e a

Firsd Tea’s parent company Zhejiang Tea Group (ZJT), in cooperation along with multiple provincial and national government agencies, have united to develop an innovative sustainability program (the Program) in rural villages in China’s Pu’an and Yanhe Counties of Guizhou Province, Guzhang County of Hunan Province, and Qingchuan County of Sichuan Province.


The Program involves the donation of 15 million tea seedlings to the poverty-stricken villages of the target areas with a goal to promote sustainability in those areas by:

  1. Introducing and supporting sustainable (tea) agricultural practices
  2. Eliminate poverty for thousands of households in rural, mountainous areas
  3. Developing tea production and manufacturing infrastructure
  4. Boosting economic conditions through agro-industrial development of the areas


The Program positively touches upon several of the Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations Development Programme.

The Program supports economic growth that aims to eliminate poverty through the creation of sustainable jobs and retirement/pension programs.

The Program uses agriculture to generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centered rural development and protecting the environment.

The Program creates economic growth through the development of the agricultural industry while not harming the local environment. The program creates increased job opportunities and develops the local agriculture infrastructure to decrease poverty and reduce unemployment.

The Program creates investments in infrastructure – transport, irrigation, and other are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure.

The rural villages in this program were targeted as areas for poverty alleviation through the State Council Poverty Alleviation Office. The Office established a list of over 300 counties across multiple provinces designated as in need of significant economic development. The Plan includes binding targets for increasing household disposable income and reducing the numbers of those living below the poverty line. Additionally, manufacturing and environmental reform will further support the Plan’s goals to alleviate poverty and create new economic growth. Zhejiang Tea Group  is committed to this sustainable, social, and earth-friendly economic development.

After careful review by local and State agencies and industry groups, the development of these rural village economies through the advancement of tea production and manufacture was determined to be ideal because of the agricultural experience of the local village members, and the terroir of the area was optimal sustainable, economic development through successful tea farming and pre-processing facilities. These rural, mountainous villages are ideal for tea because of the lower land requirements compared to other commercial crops. Also, compared to other commodity agriculture products, the value of tea is higher. In summary, tea was the perfect fit.


The intervention aims to assist an estimated 10,000 households out of poverty by providing  long-term, sustainable tea crops and primary processing facility operations to the areas. Farmers will be given further technical assistance in managing their crops and improving yields, along with enhanced marketing campaigns to support sales of teas produced.

As of March 2019, over 300 acres of tea gardens have been cultivated in Pu’an County alone. The Spring 2020 launch of an industrial tea park in Pu’an County will create the capacity to process approximately 50,000 metric tons of harvested leaf and inject over 67 million RMB into the local economy. The Pu’an project alone will be capable of producing bulk/commodity tea, instant tea product, and premium/specialty tea, making it more commercially viable and economically resilient. Once the Pu’an County project reaches optimal capacity, an annual 8,100 metric tons of final commercial product will be produced, creating 154 million RMB in total commercial sales. The Pu’an County project is just one of the 4 counties being developed in this program. Similar results are expected in the development projects in the other 3 counties.


The Tea Seedling Program is one of the most ambitious sustainability projects in the tea industry today in terms of its scope and impact. It positively touches upon several of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations Development Programme, including poverty alleviation, eliminating hunger, promoting sustainable economic growth, developing economic opportunities, and building infrastructure in rural areas.

For more information, contact:

Jason Walker

Marketing Director

Firsd Tea North America

(a subsidiary of Zhejiang Tea Group)

1099 Wall Street West

Suite 390

Lyndhurst, NJ 07071


Trucks Carrying Tea Seedlings From The Donor Villages
Arrival of donated tea seedlings in Anyuan County, Jiangxi Province

Workers Preparing Irrigation Systems For Fields Of Donated Tea Seedlings

Spring Planting Of Donated Tea Seedlings In Project Villages, May 2019
Planting Of Tea Seedlings At Program Recipient Village, Spring 2019

Newly Planted Field Of Donated Tea Seedlings In Program Recipient Village, Spring 2019

Artist Rendering Of The Future Pu’An Tea Industrial Park