THE PROJECT OF TEA COOPERATIVE
TEA IN LAOS
The tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, is native to Laos and its adjacent countries forming the Southeast Asian Massif – Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, and China, and naturally occurs in the region’s vast evergreen forests.
Laos’ geography is characterized by lush mountainous landscapes, which specific micro-climates and soils provide an ideal habitat for the tea tree, thriving in elevations between 800 and 1600 meters above sea level and with abundant moisture from mist and clouds.
Ancient and wild forest tea can be found in most of the country’s provinces, especially in the north. It has been traded for centuries via caravan trade routes linked to the famous ancient tea horse road between Yunnan and Tibet.
In 2019, the Mekong Tea Project, led by the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and funded by French development agency AFD was initiated with the goal of empowering smallholder farmers and strengthening the tea sector.
One of the project’s key components is to provide technical support to the Meung Tea Producers Cooperative, reinforcing the farmers’ organization, further developing production and processing skills, facilitating organic and fair trade certifications, and commercialization.
Tea will provide a sustainable activity and a stable source of income to several hundred families in Meuang Meung. The project’s aim is to assist the farmers in connecting to international commercial partners who value quality and sustainability, and who are interested in establishing committed relationships of mutual trust and appreciation.