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NEWSLETTER - QINGSHAN-FARM – COMPLETE OVERVIEW SINCE 11/2019

  • December 2020

    General development

    This year, unfortunately, there was no possibility for our staff to visit Qingshan farm. The strict travel restrictions in China, especially for foreigners, made this impossible. Nevertheless, there was again a Fairbiotea inspection by the organic control body CERES this year, which confirmed the fulfillment of the Fairbiotea requirements on the part of Qingshan.

    The three-year start-up funding to establish cattle breeding on the farm has now expired. The herd currently consists of 11 animals and thus stands firmly on its own feet. Unfortunately, 2 cows died this year, otherwise the herd would already consist of 13 animals. The support of the compost managers by Fairbiotea has also come to an end. Compost production is well installed and continues in the familiar way.

    Certification, security, sustainability

    The area of Qingshan farm, which was not large anyway, has decreased due to the loss of some parts that had to be used for other purposes. As previously reported, the third country control body started 2019 using Google maps to measure the actual cultivation area of a tea farm. In 2020, Qingshan farm has now also been re-measured in such a way. Many tea farms only calculate with the area information from the lease contracts and have no way to measure themselves the actual cultivation area that is planted with tea bushes. As can be expected, the re-measurement with Google results in smaller cultivation areas. For Qingshan, 40 hectares of pure cultivation area were measured and certified in the new 2020 organic certificate, down from 54 hectares in 2019. Unfortunately, there are no opportunities to increase the area of the Qingshan farm.

    Fairbiotea has therefore been on the lookout for an additional farm of the same exporter, in order to initiate and support the development process towards more sustainability there, and to include the farm in Fairbiotea as well. We selected a farm in the province of Guizhou for this purpose. A Fairbiotea inspection by the organic control body has been carried out there already this year. The results are very positive, but Fairbiotea would still like to personally inspect the farm before accepting it as a new partner. Since this was not possible in 2020 due to Corona, Fairbiotea has postponed the decision on the inclusion of this farm to the coming year 2021. Nevertheless, we purchased already quite some tea from this farm in 2019 and 2020. We will report on the further developments in our "Actual" newsletter.

    Modernization

    As reported in the 2019 newsletter, the management of Chenzhou Jietan had to realize that the building of the modern final processing factory in Yuanling was too large in scale and that total exports fell short of expectations. Two of the factory halls were already taken over by the county government in 2019, the last hall of the factory was then finally abandoned in 2020.

    Since Fairbiotea plans to include another farm of the same exporter in the project, it suggested itself to have the teas of the two farms processed in the same factory, this is better also in terms of supplying equivalent tea qualities. From 2020 on, the teas from both farms will therefore be processed in a final processing factory in Guzhang. This factory has been certified organic continuously since 2005.

    Compost production

    Compost production has become firmly established in Qingshan. Most recently, in October 2020 a new compost pile was put up. The compost from previous productions was spread on the tea fields as fertilizer in November. To the steep tea fields it usually has to be carried laboriously on the back. In total, Qingshan produces about 50 tons of compost per year.

 

  • November 2019
    The herd of cattle now includes 11 animals, 2 of which are bulls. Sufficient manure is produced for compost production.
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    General development

    In 2018 as well, the wages for the compost managers and the cattle breeding have been paid by Fairbiotea.

    Since the available area in Qingshan is limited, Fairbiotea is currently checking together with the producer whether an expansion is possible by converting other areas.

    Certification, security, sustainability

    Traceability will play an increasingly important role in the future. A very special way, namely the proof of origin by means of isotope and element analysis, is a unique research project, which is supported by Fairbiotea. The scientific foundation of this project is the fact that isotopes and elements contained in the soil and the rocks leave measurable signatures in plant material. If one compares these signatures with comparative data from soil and rock samples, it can be said with considerable accuracy whether a plant has grown at that place or not. This also applies to dried tea leaves.

    In 2018 Fairbiotea accompanied a scientist to three of our farms to draw first samples of soil, rock and tea leaves. In Qingshan such a sampling took place in several of the farm sections.

    During this year’s inspection Fairbiotea visited besides the farm also the processing factory of Qingshan’s jasmine tea. It is located in China’s largest jasmine growing area in Heng county, Guangxi province. Read more about it in our description of the production process of jasmine tea and in the 2019 newsletter in the archive on our Actual page.

    Modernisation

    In 2019, the management of Chenzhou Jietan company realized that the construction of the modern final processing plant in Yuanling was a little too large-scaled and that total export revenues fell short of expectations. Low profits due to persistently low export prices remain a problem for China's tea industry. Two of the three new factory buildings have been emptied completely already and are being rented out to other companies, the last remaining factory hall was still in operation in 2019, but is planned to be sold also. Sencha production will be dropped. The proposed new office building likewise will not be realized. In the future the final processing of the Qingshan teas will be carried out in a factory near the city of Changsha.


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