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Wine-making enlivens spirit in southwest China village

(Xinhua)    11:16, October 21, 2020

GUIYANG, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- In the village of Yanbo, houses with white walls and gray roofs nestle snugly at the foot of lush green mountains in southwest China's Guizhou Province. A small country road winds through the neighborhood. It is a beautiful rural landscape.

But only 19 years ago, the village presented quite a different picture.

"I remember the village was a complete mess," said village native Xiao Ruo, 36. "There was a peach tree in front of my house, but I would never dare to eat the peaches that fell because near the tree was a pond filled with pig waste. It smelt so bad."

At that time, the annual average income per capita was less than 800 yuan (120 U.S. dollars) in Yanbo. All villagers lived in thatched cottages.

"There was a saying that if a girl wanted to get married, she should never marry a guy from our village because we were just too poor," Xiao recalled.

However, a surprising industry has transformed fortunes in the village: wine-making.

Currently, the collective assets in Yanbo have surpassed 100 million yuan, and the village's image also got a total makeover.

It all began with Yu Liufen becoming the Party chief of the village in 2001. To help locals get rid of poverty, Yu decided to try developing an industry.

"Yanbo has more than 600 years of wine-making history, and almost every family knows how to make wine," she said. "So, I figured that it would be a good way to bolster the economy here."

In 2004, Yu helped establish a wine-making factory in Yanbo. Thanks to excellent wine-making skills and quality products, the factory kept going and demand continued to rise. In 2013, Yu helped upgrade the village factory into a wine-making company that churns out 5,000 tonnes of wine annually.

Through the company, locals can not only buy shares with money and land but also work in the company, which guarantees stable sources of income, in addition to dividends.

"Each villager could get at least 5,000 yuan of dividends," Yu said.

Xiao Dashu, 52, used to make a living by making wine at home. After the company was established, she took out more than 100,000 yuan of her savings and became a shareholder.

"I started working at the company's wine factory in 2018, and I earn about 3,000 yuan in salary each month," she said. Xiao also received 12,000 yuan of dividends at the year-end.

But the company did not succeed without setbacks. Yu said she struggled to find skills initially.

"In 2017, there were fewer than 10 people who had degrees, but now we have more than 200," she said. "We implemented preferential policies to attract college graduates and migrant workers back to the village because we knew that talents were key to our development."

Xiao Ruo was one of those who returned.

"I had worked in coastal areas for many years, but my father and Yu talked me back to the village," Xiao said. "Now, I have found confidence in working here, and I feel content."

Xiao's hard work helped him become deputy general manager of the company, and he bought a three-story house for his family.

"Gone are the days when we used to live near the pond with pig waste, and our houses are now surrounded by flowers. We have a cement road, road lamps, and a big village square," he said. "Life is so much better these days."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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