A tea plantation in Bulangshan town of Menghai county, in the Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Tea has helped poor farmers in Yunnan find a way out of destitution thanks to the efforts of one man who had a chance to encounter some local farmers there, Yang Feiyue reports.

Ren Huaican now looks to tea from Yunnan after the green leaves worked magic for him. Ren was suffering mass mouth ulcers when he visited the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er city back in the spring of 2006. “I had trouble eating,” he says.

Then, he saw a row of ancient tea trees on the mountain, and some local farmers were harvesting tea leaves. “So, I picked off six or seven leaves and chewed them,” Ren recalls.

The next morning, the pain was gone and the ulcers began to heal.

Whether it was the tea working or something else, the experience prompted Ren to explore the tea resources in the province, which led him to discover that the local tea business was quite scattered and done on a very small scale.

During his search for tea production bases in the mountains across Yunnan, Ren found that nearly 10 million people were involved in the tea business, but the underdeveloped tea market had kept local tea farmers from selling the natural treasure properly to the public.