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February 25, 2024  People's daily online   

Black Fungus Industry Brings Prosperity to Zhongyang County of China's Shanxi

Case Study; Value Chain Development for Smallholders; Black Fungus Industry; Shanxi

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After five years of development, the black fungus industry has emerged as a pillar industry of Zhongyang county in north China's Shanxi Province to consolidate and build on the county's achievements in poverty elimination, while advancing rural revitalization.

This year, the county has produced 2.4 million kilograms of dried black fungi, with annual output worth 150 million yuan ($21.16 million), generating an extra average income of more than 4,500 yuan for over 8,000 people, including nearly 4,000 who were previously impoverished.

Located in a mountainous area, Zhongyang was once a national-level impoverished county.

Fortunately, the county, with a forest coverage rate of 49 percent, boasts of sound climatic conditions suitable for the cultivation of edible fungi, including black fungi, said Liu Wei, head of the county's bureau of agriculture and rural affairs. The county carried out the trial planting of black fungi in 2018.

"The selling price of dried black fungi reaches 50 yuan per kilogram," said Guo Baoping, a villager in Guanshang village, Nuanquan township in the county. Guo added that he has made the right choice by cultivating black fungi these years.

Guo is one of the first villagers to plant black fungi in Guanshang village. In 2018, the county sent 30 major growers, including Guo who was then Party chief of the village, to learn how to cultivate black fungi in northeast China.

Due to their lack of experience, these growers failed to earn a decent income from the trial cultivation at first, and some of them even gave up.

"The county government invited technicians from Shanxi Agricultural University for guidance on the cultivation of black fungi," Guo said, noting that his black fungi then saw a bumper harvest.

Inspired by him, over 10 residents in the village started planting black fungi in 2020.

Zhongyang county has established a leading office for the development of the black fungus industry and issued a series of documents to support the sector's development.

"In the first two years, we offered subsidies of 20,000 yuan for the establishment of a black fungus greenhouse, and 3,000 yuan per mu for black fungi planted on land," said Li Hairong, deputy director of the county's modern agricultural service development center.

The county has rolled out subsidized black fungus loans that allow for repayments after black fungi are harvested, as well as favorable black fungus insurance. This year, 99 percent of mushroom sticks in the county are covered by insurance.

In the past, the county had to introduce mushroom spawns, sticks and planting techniques from other places, which hindered the development of its black fungus sector.

"We must make vigorous efforts to strengthen, complement and expand the black fungus industrial chain and succeed in black fungus cultivation, grading and packaging, and processing, as well as the recycling of mushroom sticks," Sun Yanfei, head of Zhongyang county.

Shanxi Tengyu Biotechnology Co., Ltd., the first mushroom stick manufacturer in the county, started production in 2020. The company now produces 20 million mushroom sticks annually.

It has established a black fungus spawn research and development (R&D) center, collaborated with experts and scholars from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Shanxi Agricultural University, and collected wild mushroom spawns for breeding purposes.

An industrial park with the whole black fungus industrial chain covering the R&D of black fungus spawns, production of mushroom sticks, planting, sales, sightseeing, technical training and recycling is taking shape in the county after three years.

Zhongyang county has set aside 240 million yuan to support the development of its black fungus industry, turning it into one of the top black fungus-producing counties nationwide.

This year, the county released a three-year action plan to promote the high-quality development of the black fungus industry. It prioritizes brand building and the expansion of sales channels of black fungi.

In August, a development conference for towns with a distinctive black fungus industry organized by the China Edible Fungi Association and the Zhongyang black fungus cultural festival were held in the county, during which purchase orders worth 20 million yuan were signed.

"Next, we will turn Zhonyang black fungus into a nationally renowned brand," said Wang Feng, Party chief of Zhongyang county.


Black Fungus Industry Brings Prosperity to Zhongyang County of China's Shanxi


Black Fungus Industry Brings Prosperity to Zhongyang County of China's Shanxi


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