An intangible cultural heritage in the Tibet autonomous region that originated in a small town is now carried out in the fashion of a pillar industry to help the local poor.
Tumba town in Nyemo county, Lhasa, is home to Tibetan incense with a history of more than 1,300 years. Made from natural medical herbs, some even rare or imported from abroad, the incense is still handmade to keep it pure and original. Different homes or workshops have their own formulas, as the incense can be mixed with different local herbs, like crocuses with cypress wood, as the main material.
As part of the poverty alleviation effort, the town's incense cooperatives began to provide interest-free loans to local registered poverty-stricken households for them to become shareholders and employees in 2016. As of 2019, there were more than 30 incense cooperatives covering 683 people from 281 families in the town making 10 million yuan that year, one-sixth of that in the county.
Tibetan incense culture went further this year as its first culture and tourism festival and forum was held in September in the county. An incense industrial park was put into production in August 2019 and has issued a bonus of 5,000 yuan on average per household.