Monopoly Tea Farms
The Ta’ang (Palaung) people are traditionally tea cultivators, however, they currently face economic hardship due to a decline in the tea market in 2011. Although the tea price was good and many tea traders bought tea during the Shwe Pyi Oo (first harvest), one week later the price of tea fell and just a few traders were buying tea. After that the tea market was very weak and tea production almost came to a halt. The Shwe Pyi Oo tea season occurs over one month from the end of March to the end of April, and is an important time for the livelihoods of the Ta’ang people. The majority of Ta’ang people who produce tea live in Namhsam, Mantong, Namtu, Namkham, Kutkai, western Kyaukmae and Thipaw in Northern Shan State. Tea production is the main source of income for over (600,000) six hundred thousand Ta’ang people.