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Beekeeping all the buzz in Miyun district

By Du Juan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-01 14:08
Bee farmers collect honey in Fengjiayu township, Beijing's Miyun district, on May 20. HE GUANXIN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Farmers in Beijing's Miyun district are getting out of poverty and becoming rich by developing businesses such as beekeeping.

Peng Mingjun, who is in his 40s, used to make a living for his four-member family by farming in Beishanzi village, Fengjiayu township. He could only make 20,000 yuan ($2,880) a year, barely enough to cover their living expenses and the tuition fees for his two daughters.

Last year, Peng got 50 colonies of bees and related equipment for free from the local government.

He was excited but anxious to learn the techniques of beekeeping, as he knew nothing about it.

"I only knew about farming the land my whole life. Beekeeping was totally new for me," he said. "However, I got a personal trainer - a beekeeping expert - signed by the government. He answers my questions 24/7, which helped me a lot."

After one year's practice and hard work, Peng's beekeeping ability improved and he had earned 30,000 yuan by the end of the year.

Peng said he plans to enlarge his beekeeping business next year.

Miyun has the largest beekeeping area in Beijing, with 2,072 bee farmers tending 115,000 colonies that account for 41 percent of the city's total.

The Miyun Gardening and Greening Bureau not only provides colonies to farmers, but also 700 to 900 yuan in subsidies for each colonies.

The bureau cooperated with rural cooperatives that provide beekeeping facilities and training to farmers.

More importantly, the cooperatives signed contracts with farmers to buy back honey from them, which solved marketing issues for them.

Like Peng, another 25 new bee farmers plan to expand their business next year.

"I'm getting more confident because of the supportive policies," said Wang Haili, a low-income farmer who also started raising bees last year. "I will work as hard as the bees to realize a better life."

According to the district government, 362 low-income farmers in Miyun entered the beekeeping project and 77 percent of them have earned more than 5,000 yuan last year.

In past decades, China's reform and opening-up has given clear direction for rural economic development.

To better use the local environment, the district government provided financial aid to upgrade more than 300 houses and encouraged villagers to develop folk tourism in past years.

Zheng Huaifeng, a villager in Jianyan village, Xiwengzhuang township, made 10,000 yuan a month by receiving tourists at home - higher than her previous income for one year.

Up to 66 percent of low-income farmers in Miyun have risen above the poverty line since 2016. Agriculture, folk tourism and other forms of businesses are expected to help more residents here to get out of poverty and become wealthy.

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