Tangjiapu farmers cash in on day lily industry

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily) Updated: 2021-02-20

When farmers in the village of Tangjiapu in Yunzhou district of Datong city, northern Shanxi, were preparing for Spring Festival, they came across an unexpected bonus that added to their Chinese New Year joy.

Shi Wei, Party secretary of the village, directed them on WeChat to collect their dividend at the villagers' committee office.

Each farmer was paid 1,000 yuan ($155) by a local company called Tangjiapu Economic Development.

The company is a village cooperative that purchases day lily flowers from local growers. It processes and sells finished products in local Shanxi markets as well as across the rest of the country.

Tang Wangao, a local villager, said the dividend was an additional surprise to the 50,000 yuan his family received several months ago when he sold his annual harvest of day lily flowers to the company.

"We had a poorer harvest than usual last year due to natural disasters," Tang said. "But we redeemed the loss when a special insurance fund launched by the district government gave us compensation of 30,000 yuan."

According to Shi, the growers' losses have all been reasonably addressed. Each household received compensation between 10,000 and 50,000 yuan.

"Despite the poorer harvest, our company's sales revenue reached 50 million yuan for the first time last year, thanks to our efforts to diversify purchasing channels as well as the price rise in the markets," said Yang Qi, general manager of Tangjiapu Economic Development. "This makes it possible for us to pay dividends to growers, who are stockholders of the company."

The executive said the company has also set aside a special fund worth 200,000 yuan to help impoverished residents and elderly people in the village.

Datong's Yunzhou district is a major production base for the organic day lilies, a cash crop with steady profitability.

The flower, which is also called yellow flower, golden needle vegetable, or worry-free grass in China, is a popular food ingredient across the country.

According to the district government, the planting area for day lilies was more than 10,000 hectares in Yunzhou in 2019. There are 109 villages, 95 plantation cooperatives and 15 processing enterprises engaged in the growing and production of day lily products. Revenue from the local industry reached 700 million yuan in the same year.

In Datong as a whole, the city government plans to develop the day lily industry into a major pillar of the rural economy.

According to the city government's development plan for the industry from 2019 to 2023, the total growing area for day lilies is expected to reach 20,000 hectares by 2023.

Zhao Zhicheng, Liu Fuhong and Cao Xuechun contributed to this story.

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