The past Jiu’an Township is a typical coal-producing township. When the coal economy was booming, the town had as many as 400 mines. More than 80% of rural revenue came from coal production and more than 3,000 people worked in the coal for a living Jiu’an.
Less work is available today as there’s a large oversupply of coal. Mine workers have to look for opportunities in other industries, but are having a hard time. Li Jinying was one of them, but he eventually found is way in the world of tea.
Li Jinyin graduated from junior high school in 1997, but because of poverty at home he stop any further education. He’d to quit school and follow his father’s footsteps as a coal mine worker. “Those years, we left home clean, but always came back with a dirty face. It was highly physical labour for an income of just 1000 yuan (150 USD) a month. We lived as a family in less than a 70m of thatched cottages and the only electrical appliances we had was a tape recorder.”
In 2010 Jiu’an town’s coal mines were closed as it was located to close to protected nature. Some villagers left to Nayong, but even when the job is a thousand miles away from home, the income was still the same.
Jinyin decided not to go, but to start growing tea. Today, his tea garden is now 50 acres in size and generates an annual income of 100,000 yuan (15k USD).
Now Li Jinyin lives in a 200m double space apartment with a colour tv and all other electric appliances. “In the past, digging coal was tough physical labor. I was always tired and I couldn’t save any money. Today, I’m not relying on my body. Instead I put my tea knowledge to work.” About his future, Jinyin revealed to the reports: “Currently, I’m only growing tea. Next I want to learn how to process tea leaves and start a small processing operation myself.”