Dairy industry takes shape in desert to unlock wealth for locals in N China's Inner Mongolia

(People's Daily Online) 17:46, September 17, 2021

Farmers and herdsmen of Dengkou county, Bayannur city, north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are living a prosperous life thanks to a dairy industry developed alongside man-made pastures in the Ulan Buh Desert, the eighth-largest desert in the country.

Photo shows a pasture for cows on the Ulan Buh Desert in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. (Photo/Xing Hao)

“Generally speaking, farmers and herdsmen living near the desert have achieved moderate prosperity,” said Xu Tao, a 32-year-old local resident who has benefited from the dairy industry. Xu’s efforts in the industry have brought him a new Toyota SUV and an annual income of over 100,000 yuan (about $15,504), which is quite common among locals.

The dairy industry in the desert was developed by a local company, Bayannur Shengmu High-tech Ecological Forage Co., Ltd., following the successful greening of the desert, which was brought about through the implementation of a series of shelterbelt afforestation programs. With an upfront investment of 260 million yuan, the company started from scratch in the middle of a desert in 2009. Afterwards, it started growing grass, raising cows and processing milk in line with organic standards.

Local people plant grass in the Ulan Buh Desert in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to fight desertification. (Photo/Xing Hao)

So far, the company has created 220,000 mu (about 14,6667 hectares) of organic grasslands in the desert, and has established 23 pastures that meet the European Union’s organic standards, according to Yang Ruiguang, an executive of the company.

“We raise over 90,000 cows, arguably the purest in China, on our pastures,” Yang said proudly, adding that the company has turned part of the desert into a colossal safe for organic milk.

Inspired by the dairy industry’s success, local people started to grow corn in addition to other crops and have directly sold their harvests to relevant dairy enterprises.

Photo shows automatic milking equipment and cows being milked at a pasture in the Ulan Buh Desert in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. (Photo/Xing Hao)

“Local herdsmen and farmers have found their way to prosperity,” said Guo Fusuo, head of the animal husbandry station of Dengkou county, noting that some of them also found jobs in dairy enterprises. 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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