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February 25, 2024  People's daily online   

Apples, Potatoes Become Cash Cows in County of NW China's Gansu

Case Study; Innovative Poverty Alleviation Initiative; Agriculture; Gansu

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People in Zhuanglang county, northwest China's Gansu Province are cashing in on apples and potatoes.

Zhuanglang is very suitable for growing apples. The apple industry has emerged as an advantageous industry for the county to boost rural revitalization.

"Apple orchards in our county remain stable at 650,000 mu (43,333 hectares), and apple trees on 420,000 mu of orchards have borne fruit. The output of apples is expected to reach 650,000 tonnes this year, with the value of the apple industrial chain expected to reach 4.5 billion yuan ($635 million)," said Liu Jun, head of the fruit industry station in Zhuanglang county.

Wanquan township is a major apple-producing area in the county, with the apple planting area now reaching 37,800 mu.

"Last year, the total output of apples in our township hit 123,000 tonnes, with a value of 1.02 billion yuan," said Liu Bingqiang, Party chief of the township.

In March this year, Wanquan was recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs as a township that developed specialty industries worth more than 1 billion yuan.

Ma Xiaobin, 36, is a major apple grower in the township. Ma once worked outside and returned to Qingshuigou village in the township to grow apples in 2014. At first, Ma planted apples on six mu of land. Several years later, Ma contracted an additional 16 mu of land for apple planting.

"Last year, my income reached 200,000 yuan. Thanks to apple planting, I have bought an apartment and a new car in the county seat in recent years," Ma said, adding that he secured another bumper harvest of apples this year.

Cuiping village in the township is home to a modern "agricultural factory." Due to poor soil, villagers were once reluctant to grow apples, according to Cui Guoguan, head of the villagers' committee.

Cuiping village then collaborated with a company to build the modern "agricultural factory," which adopts advanced agricultural technologies such as drip irrigation.

Villagers there can receive rent from transferring their land-use rights, revenue from their own apple orchards, and salary from the "agricultural factory."

"Apple trees have become money-spinners for locals," Liu Bingqiang said, adding that the output of apples in the township this year is expected to be worth over 1.2 billion yuan.

This year, the planting area of potatoes in Zhuanglang county reached 365,000 mu, with the total output and value of fresh potatoes reaching 560,000 tonnes and 600 million yuan, respectively, said Li Guobin, director of the agricultural technology center of the county, adding that the total output value of the potato industrial chain is expected to hit 1 billion yuan.

The county's thriving potato industry can be partly attributed to a high-quality potato variety locally developed, and the introduction of potato planting in the aeroponic system.

"My life has got better since I started planting the locally-developed potato six to seven years ago," said Su Pengpeng, who took the lead in establishing a cooperative in the past two years.

Su bought agricultural machines for the cooperative, which then realized the mechanization of potato cultivation and harvesting.

"Potato planting has fattened our wallets," said Su, adding that the cooperative strives to expand the planting area of potatoes from 200 mu this year to 300 mu in the coming year.

Zhuanglang county has also strived to extend the industrial chains for apples and potatoes. This not only further improves the reputation of the county's apples and potatoes but also brings prosperity to the locals.

Gansu Gonghe Food Co., Ltd. produces apple vinegar in the county. The deep processing can double profits compared to directly selling raw materials, said Li Shangwen, general manager of the company.

Li Shangwen has introduced an intelligent production line and organized teams to develop healthier products and constantly upgrade packaging. Li Shangwen said the company aims to sell the county's quality products to other places.

At a factory of a starch processing company in the county, automated machines are used to produce potato starch noodles.

Thanks to quality raw materials and a fair and reasonable price, the company's potato starch noodles have been sold to north China's Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province, and other places.


Apples, Potatoes Become Cash Cows in County of NW China's Gansu


Apples, Potatoes Become Cash Cows in County of NW China's Gansu


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