Change of crop bears fruit

By Wang Hao/Yang Feiyue/Li | China Daily | Updated: 2017-09-26 08:00

Change of crop bears fruit

The fruits are offering new hope for local farmers like Xu to lead a better life. [Photo by Wang Jing/China Daily]

Qujing is going all out to upgrade its economic development and industry structure, says Dong. Coal production has been halved compared with its peak period, steel capacity has been reduced, obsolete production equipment eliminated, and the local government is now striving to develop modern plateau agriculture.

As part of this initiative, the local government enticed the Joyvio Group to develop its blueberry farms in Qujing in October 2014.

"We had experts determine whether the local climatic conditions were suitable for growing blueberries and offered a series of support measures for the company to settle here," says Zhang Zhen, a senior official with the Qilin district government.

The local climate and slightly acidic soil turned out to be ideal for growing blueberries, which ripen and appear in the market four to five months earlier than those other parts of the country.

The Qilin government has also spent 12 million yuan to build roads, greenhouses and refrigerated warehouses, and provides the company with an annual subsidy of 1 million yuan.

In addition, local government representatives went from door to door to introduce the local farmers to the benefits of blueberry plantations and encourage them to provide some of their land for them and work for the company, according to Zhang.

As a result, more than 500 households agreed to lease some of their land to the company.

"Most of the land being leased was mainly used to grow corn and tobacco before," says He Chongyun, an official with the village where Joyvio is located.

The local farmers could make roughly 2,000 yuan in profit per mu (0.07 hectare) of land in the past if they grew tobacco, a few hundred if they planted corn, He says.

But now, they get 1,200 yuan for each mu of land they rent out, and the 100 local farmers who have become long-term employees of Joyvio can make 30,000-40,000 yuan a year, and those who work part time 70-100 yuan a day, based on their responsibilities. During harvest season, the Joyvio facility needs more than 400 temporary workers to help.

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