Co-ops bring prom­ise of pros­per­ity

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - ByWANG QINGYUN in Huichang, Jiangxi

When visi­tors first see Dax­iba vil­lage in Huichang county, they are of­ten im­pressed by its lush lo­tus­cov­ered land­scape.

But for Yang Yun­hua, the plant and its pink and white blos­soms are more than just aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing— they en­sure the vil­lage’s fu­ture pros­per­ity.

In­May 2015, Yang set up a co­op­er­a­tive fo­cused on plant­ing lo­tuses and pro­duc­ing their seeds, which are widely used in Chi­nese cook­ing. Now the busi­ness owns and op­er­ates more than 18 hectares of land and em­ploys 12 vil­lagers, six of whom are de­fined as liv­ing in poverty.

These work­ers are paid 70 to 80 yuan ($10.5-$12) a Yang Yun­hua, day for main­tain­ing the lo­tus plants and pick­ing their seeds. Other vil­lagers are also hired to help peel fresh lo­tus seeds.

Yang’s co­op­er­a­tive is one of 488 such en­ter­prises that have been set up in Huichang county.

Spe­cial­iz­ing in prod­ucts such as tan­ge­los, camel­lia oil or bam­boo, the co­op­er­a­tives have been es­tab­lished to help in­crease peo­ple’s in­comes and in turn de­velop large-scale lo­cal in­dus­tries.

At present, about one in 10 peo­ple in Huichang are be­low the poverty line.

Inorder­toen­cour­age­banks to lend money to the co­op­er­a­tives and poverty-stricken peo­ple who want to start their own busi­nesses, the county has set aside 2 mil­lion yuan from its poverty al­le­vi­a­tion fund as col­lat­eral for banks.

Yang, the founder of the lo­tus plant­ing co­op­er­a­tive in Dax­iba vil­lage, said his busi­ness has also re­ceived direct sup­port from the gov­ern­ment, which this year of­fered a sub­sidy to cover part of the in­ter­est on loans that the co­op­er­a­tive has to pay.

The gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to de­velop lo­cal in­dus­try have been sig­nif­i­cant, Yang said.

By rent­ing land to the co­op­er­a­tive and work­ing within it, res­i­dents in his vil­lage can earn much more than they could by sim­ply grow­ing rice. This cre­ates an at­mos­phere that en­cour­ages peo­ple to work to­ward a bet­ter life, he said.

Nowthat he has a fac­tory, Yang plans to ex­pand his busi­ness by sell­ing dried lo­tus seeds, which fetch a higher price than fresh ones.

“With the gov­ern­ment’s sup­port, we can fur­ther de­velop the co­op­er­a­tive and its busi­ness,” he said.

With the gov­ern­ment’s sup­port, we can fur­ther de­velop the co­op­er­a­tive and its busi­ness.” Dax­iba vil­lage founder of a lo­tus plant­ing co­op­er­a­tive in

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