Co-ops bring promise of prosperity
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