Farmers add shine to apple production

Agricultural innovators help transform poor enclave into wealthy village

By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-01-11 08:03
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A farmer harvests apple at her orchard in Gangdi village, Neiqiu county, Hebei province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In a once impoverished village in North China's Hebei province, traditional farmers have transformed into agricultural innovators equipped with advanced knowledge and skills and even professional titles, enriching not just their minds but also their pockets.

Gangdi village in Neiqiu county, Xingtai, located deep in the Taihang Mountains and home to about 700 residents, struggled with poverty in the 1980s.

The village began its mountain rehabilitation efforts in 1984. Over the course of 10 years, it brought over 467 hectares of barren hills under cultivation, planting more than 200,000 apple trees.

But for a long time, despite each household having its own orchard, the lack of scientific management resulted in apples of poor appearance and taste that fetched low prices.

The villagers were still impoverished, despite living amid what should have been "money trees".

A turning point came in 1996 when Li Baoguo, a professor from Hebei Agricultural University, introduced a standardized production method tailored for apple cultivation in Gangdi.

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