Day lilies a flourishing source of city revenue

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily) Updated: 2021-05-21


Farmers collect day lily flowers in one of the plantations in Datong. [Photo by Liu Lujin for China Daily]

Yang Qi, a farmer in the village of Tangjiapu of Datong, Shanxi province, has increased his income by growing day lilies.

The flower of the plant is a popular food ingredient nationwide.

"Day lily flowers are collected from late May, and I already foresee a good harvest based on the current growth status," Yang said.

What makes him happier is that large orders have already come in for his produce from across the country.

Yang is a member of Tangjiapu Village Economic Development, a local cooperative for the growing, production and sales of day lilies.

In 2020, the cooperative, which operates more than 30 hectares of day lily farms and a processing factory in Tangjiapu, sold more than 1,300 metric tons of day lily products, an increase of 60 percent from the previous year.

"The booming sales last year brought an additional revenue of nearly 3 million yuan ($467,000) to the village, or 1,000 yuan to each household involved," Yang said.

"The market demand keeps growing and the prices are steady. Farmers' enthusiasm for growing the plant is further enhanced as the cooperative has helped to ease their worries in terms of sales."

According to Yang Jinyuan, head of the day lily industry association in Datong, it has only been in recent years that day lily production has become an industry big enough to boost the local economy.

"Although day lilies in Datong have historically been known for their quality, there were still a number of problems to be solved in terms of scaling up the industry," Yang Jinyuan said.

Solutions to these problems included technologies to improve output and farming efficiency, better irrigation systems and more enterprises engaged in processing day lily flowers.

According to Yang Jinyuan, Datong is currently home to 175 enterprises engaged in processing day lilies, including 34 companies and 141 cooperatives. "Their processing capacity can meet the demands of all day lily growers in the city."

In 2020, Datong reported a revenue of 2 billion yuan for the day lily industry, making it an important pillar in the local rural economy.

According to a development plan for the industry, Datong's day lily growing area is expected to reach 20,000 hectares in 2022. And the output value of the industry and related sectors is estimated to surpass 10 billion yuan by 2025.

Wu Jia contributed to this story.

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