Vil­lage har­vests grape ex­pec­ta­tions for bet­ter fu­ture

China Daily (USA) - - JIANGXI SPECIAL - By ZHANG ZHAO zhangzhao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

In the vast green­house or­chards at Wangji­a­cun vil­lage in Cenyang town­ship, Hengfeng county, the grapes are ripe and ready for pick­ing.

The or­chards have pro­vided both fruit and a new cen­ter of tourism that can at­tract more vis­i­tors.

The vil­lage, in Shangrao city, Jiangxi prov­ince, is a good ex­am­ple of how the prov­ince is look­ing to tackle poverty by re­struc­tur­ing lo­cal eco­nomic mod­els.

De­spite its beau­ti­ful land­scape and nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, Wangji­a­cun has long been the poor­est vil­lage in the town­ship, with an an­nual per capita net in­come of around 2,000 yuan ($297.8). In 2013, the lo­cal govern­ment de­cided to cul­ti­vate or­chards and de­velop eco­log­i­cal tourism to up­grade the vil­lage’s econ­omy.

In Oc­to­ber 2013, Lyu Haifeng started an agri­cul­tural com­pany to de­velop or­chards in Wangji­a­cun. He wanted the lo­cal landown­ers to be­come stake­hold­ers in the ven­ture by re­leas­ing their land to him for cul­ti­va­tion. How­ever, many were ini­tially re­luc­tant as they were un­fa­mil­iar with grape har­vest­ing.

Of­fi­cials from the town­ship held pro­mo­tional cam­paigns to pub­li­cize the ven­ture and, as a re­sult, Lyu ac­quired field space of around 13 hectares from 26 lo­cal house­holds in De­cem­ber the same year. He later gained an ad­di­tional 30 hectares from landown­ers in nearby vil­lages.

“The or­chard busi­ness is go­ing well now thanks to the ef­forts of the lo­cal govern­ment,” Lyu said.

Last year, net in­come gen­er­ated by the grape busi­ness was more than 2 mil­lion yuan ($300,000), and will reach 2.6 mil­lion yuan this year. The num­ber is ex­pected to reach 6 mil­lion yuan when cher­ries and tan­ger­ines are har­vested next year, ac­cord­ing to Lyu.

In ad­di­tion to cul­ti­vat­ing lo­cal pro­duce, res­i­dents have also opened restau­rants and shops, and some have be­come tour guides.

“From July to Oc­to­ber each year, es­pe­cially when the grapes are ripe, the vil­lage at­tracts a lot of tourists, and my res­tau­rant be­comes so busy,” said vil­lager Chen Liangzhu. Chen added that his net in­come, which was pre­vi­ously be­low the of­fi­cial 2,000 yuan per year poverty line, has now risen to more than 40,000 yuan a year.

The govern­ment of Hengfeng county also en­cour­ages e-com­merce to help farm­ers to sell their prod­ucts.

Last year, work be­gan on plans to de­velop an e-com­merce park, which will be a key county-level project. The park will al­low star­tups to share in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices, and it has at­tracted more than 50 com­pa­nies to date.

Yang Yue from Xin­huang town­ship raised 1 mil­lion yuan to start a com­pany in the park sell­ing lo­cal spe­cial­ties. The com­pany gen­er­ated rev­enue of more than 2 mil­lion yuan in the first five months of this year.

There are also more than 20 com­pa­nies in the county in­volved in the lo­gis­tics, de­liv­ery and stor­age busi­nesses, with more than 200 em­ploy­ees.

The e-com­merce sec­tor gen­er­ated a trade vol­ume of 650 mil­lion yuan in the first five months of this year, al­ready equal­ing last year’s to­tal.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

An as­para­gus farm in Zhongde, Hengfeng county, which is a ru­ral co­op­er­a­tive com­prised of 49 house­holds.

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