Daylilies get a foothold in Shanxi
Zhang Shengwei surveys daylilies drying in the sun in Dingqiao village of Jijiazhuang township, Datong city, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Ever since Zhang Shengwei quit his job at a metallurgy company in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, in early 2016, he has been working to develop a business helping fellow residents become more prosperous by planting daylilies.
The 42-year-old Zhang was born into a farming family in Dingqiao village, Jijiazhuang township, in Shanxi's Datong city. He studied hard to get into Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, in 1999.
After graduation in 2002, he got a job opportunity at the metallurgy company and rose to become one of the top managers several years later. However, he often thought of his neighbors. He hoped to lead them out of poverty.
Zhang Shengwei surveys the daylilies growing in Dingqiao village of Jijiazhuang township, Datong city, Shanxi province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
The opportunity came as his village began to develop the daylily industry in 2015. Young people who worked outside the village returned to start businesses.
After a detailed investigation of daylily plantations and sales channels across the country, Zhang decided to develop it back home.
With funding of 500,000 yuan ($72,500) he collected in various ways, Zhang founded a daylily planting cooperative, attracting 358 nearby farmers with 33.3 hectares of land.
Following Zhang and the cooperative, 766.7 hectares of farmland in Jijiazhuang have been planted in daylilies. The per capita income of local farmers increased from 2,600 yuan in 2017 to 5,500 yuan in 2021.
Zhang also registered a trademark for their daylilies and brought the products to various agricultural fairs across the country, which greatly helped promote the product's popularity among wholesalers and consumers.