The choices and relationships of tea producers: A case study on tea production in Namhsan Township, Shan State, Myanmar

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Abstract

In Myanmar, tea is used not only as a drink but also as a food product in the form of pickled tea. The Namhsan Township, which is in the highlands of northern Shan State―and where the Palaung people, of the Mon-Khmer group, constitute 90 percent of the population―is the largest tea-producing region in Myanmar. All three kinds of tea―pickled tea (post-fermentation tea), green tea (non-fermented tea), and black tea (fully fermented tea)―are produced in Namhsan, where producers choose the particular kind of tea they process from among the three. The objective of this study is to investigate how tea producers in Namhsan choose the particular kind of tea they process based on three factors: various changes in tea leaves according to season and processing; social relationships among tea producers, including laborers, farmers, agents, and factory owners; and influences of the consumer market in urban areas such as Yangon and Mandalay. Furthermore, this study examines how the choices made by tea producers characterize their social relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-115
Number of pages34
JournalJapanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Volume52
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Consumption
  • Food culture
  • Highland society
  • Myanmar area studies
  • Palaung
  • Production
  • Tea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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