Diversified efforts are helping bring more Shanxi farmers out of poverty
A daylily plantation in Yunzhou district is seen in Datong, Shanxi province, on July 12. Daylily plantations have become a major industry boosting poverty alleviation efforts and are a major profit-making business for farmers. [Photo provided to China Daily]
It's harvest season for daylilies.
Farmers in the Yunzhou district of Datong, Shanxi province, got up at 3 am and worked until 8 am to pluck the nutritious yellow flowers, an important culinary ingredient on Chinese tables.
"You may not believe it, but daylilies helped over 50 families in my home village, Xiayujian village of Yunzhou district, emerge from poverty. Now the daylily plantation has become a main industry in the district and our products have been sold across the country," said Yang Qi, a local farmer.
In 2011, the government in Yunzhou district issued a series of policies to support the planting of daylilies. This included offering farmers subsidies and insurance as part of its poverty alleviation efforts.
Hearing the news, Yang lobbied over 50 families living in poverty in his village and set up a daylily plantation cooperative association. They rented lands whose size was over 500 mu (33 hectares), standardized the plantation process and improved product quality for better sales.
As Yang's business got better, his association rented another land of over 500 mu from 108 families living in poverty from nearby villages for a daylily plantation this year. He paid them about 500 yuan ($71.35) per mu per year for rent and hired local farmers to plant daylilies after getting training by specialists from his association.
To date, Yang has helped over 5,000 families in poverty through his daylily business.
"We are stepping up efforts in producing daylily products with higher added-value, such as making daylily sauce, to generate more revenue," Yang said.
There are many farmers like Yang who rely on daylilies to cover basic family expenses and possibly make a fortune in Yunzhou district. To date, daylily plantations have reached 170,000 mu in Yunzhou and the annual output is worth around 700 million yuan.