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Coffee park gives village seed-to-cup buzz

Updated: 2024-06-11 06:35 ( China Daily )
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The coffee-themed park draws many guests from across the country to Gaixin village, Lancang Lahu autonomous county, Pu'er, Southwest China's Yunnan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Support from urban authorities brings positive change with new projects directed at younger generation, Yang Feiyue and Li Yingqing report.

Wei Xiaolin was too excited to sleep as she had been preparing for the opening of a coffee-themed park in her hometown on May 18.

She got up very early and put on her barista uniform to serve various coffee drinks to more than 80 guests from across the country at the park in Gaixin village, Lancang Lahu autonomous county, Pu'er, Southwest China's Yunnan province.

The 20-year-old was full of vigor and couldn't help but smile at each of her guests.

"I have to do my part right because they are here to help my hometown in its development," says Wei, who was born in the county.

She was thrilled to hear in March that a coffee-themed getaway was coming to her hometown when she was looking for internships as a senior student at the Yunnan Technician College in the provincial capital Kunming.

"I figured it was a great opportunity to work near my home," she says.

Two months ago, she didn't know much about coffee and now she not only appreciates the different coffee beans but can make coffee drinks.

Wei says she's excited that the park's manager told her she is welcome to keep working at the park after graduation.

At the park, visitors can experience the whole process of coffee making, such as growing coffee beans, processing them and turning them into drinks.

Gaixin used to be a very ordinary village where the residents relied on traditional farming and husbandry.

Since 2023, the village has carried out a coffee seed-to-cup industrial chain and implemented a series of farming culture and tourism projects.

A coffee production factory has risen from an empty lot and coffee plantations have taken shape.

The village's idle collective assets have been repurposed and given rise to a 1,000-square-meter coffee training and experience center, as well as a fun learning base for students to explore the countryside.

Tong Meifang, a local villager, has witnessed the positive changes firsthand.

"A sewage treatment system has been installed and fellow villagers have dismantled abandoned cattle pens, transforming the areas in front of and behind their houses into small vegetable or flower gardens," says the woman in her 30s.

"Our village is so beautiful now, it's like living in a garden, so we must cherish it," Tong says.

The project has brought positive changes to the village. It is part of the supportive initiative between Shanghai's Huangpu district with Lancang that started in 1996.

It was a result of the nation's East-West collaboration put forward by the central government in the 1990s that was aimed at reducing regional disparities and promoting balanced economic development across the country. This policy framework encourages cooperation between the more economically developed eastern regions and the less developed western regions.

Over the years, Huangpu has taken positive measures in rural development, health and hygiene, and industrial and social welfare to help boost Lancang's development.

Yu Xuchen is an official sent from Huangpu to aid Lancang in July 2022. Upon arriving, he spent three months visiting more than 20 villages and townships in the county with Piao Su, the rural vitalization bureau's deputy head.

It led to the finding that Lancang has 70,000 mu (4,667 hectares) of coffee plantations, making coffee a pillar industry for the county. However, the county didn't have a single advanced coffee processing plant.

"All the coffee beans in Lancang were purchased as raw materials by buyers from outside the region. Shanghai is one of the largest coffee consumption markets in the world, so we found a way to create a direct connection," says Yu, who is now deputy head of the county.

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