Three generations transform village in China’s Jiangxi through pomelo planting

(People's Daily Online) 10:06, February 08, 2023

A few decades ago, a farm in Lianhua county, east China’s Jiangxi Province, had only seven pomelo trees. Today, it has 2,000 mu (133 hectares) of land with more than 70,000 pomelo trees.

Workers sort out pomelos in Liu Yunwan's farm. (Photo/He Kai)

“The original seven pomelo trees were witness to how barren mountains turned into pomelo forests can bring wealth to locals,” said Liu Yunwan, a man in his late 70s who is the founder of the farm.

In the 1980s, Shijiang village in Shengfang township, Lianhua county was a provincial-level poverty-stricken village. Liu Yunwan, then secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branch of the village, decided to plant fruit trees on barren mountains.

Before that, villagers had planted various types of fruit trees, but some of them failed to adapt to local conditions, which resulted in inferior fruits. Meanwhile, other varieties of fruits could not be sold due to too much competition or a lack of logistics, stifling villagers’ enthusiasm for planting fruit trees.

Liu Yunwan bought 30 pomelo trees from other places and tried to graft parts of them onto local pomelo varieties, but after a sudden cold spell, only seven survived.

But Liu was not discouraged. Thanks to policies supporting agriculture and farmers rolled out by various levels of government, he planted 19 varieties of pomelo trees on a trial basis, and cultivated a new pomelo variety in 2014.

Photo shows Liu Yunwan's farm. (Photo/Pingxiang New Media Center)

Liu Yunwan’s daughter, Liu Guixiang, then followed in her father’s footsteps. In 2020, his nephew also joined his farm and established an e-commerce team, which Liu Yunwan’s grandson joined last year.

Because of the Liu family, over 100 households have begun working in the industry, planting the new variety of pomelo on over 1,000 mu of land.

Many farmers become involved in the pomelo industry through Liu’s farm. Those who transferred land to the farm receive rent, and those who work for it earn salaries and sales commissions.

So far, the farm has signed long-term employment contracts with over 40 people. During the peak period each year, over 100 farmers and people who used to be impoverished work at the farm, increasing their annual income by an average of over 20,000 yuan (about $2,948.40).

In 2022, the farm produced 1.3 million kg of pomelos, which were then sold out in 45 days. “Many packages of our pomelos were delivered to Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Our pomelos are highly sought after,” said Fan Xiangmei, a worker who earns nearly 30,000 yuan per year at the farm.

“It’s our brand and reputation that guarantees our pomelos’ popularity in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen,” said Liu Guixiang, adding that the farm has been recognized as a provincial-level modern agriculture demonstration park.

“Three generations of the Liu family have been devoted to planting quality pomelo trees for 40 years, helping many locals increase their incomes. We will expand the growing areas of pomelo trees and establish agricultural tourism bases so that more villagers can get involved in the pomelo industry and boost rural vitalization,” said an official from Shengfang township.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)


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