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Mountain village seeks prosperity from herb, honey

By TAN YINGZI in Chongqing | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-24 10:35
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During spring, farmers in Huaxi village are busy harvesting huangjing, a valuable herb in traditional Chinese medicine that has brought fortune to the formerly poverty-stricken village deep in the mountains of Southwest China.

As tourists flock to the village to experience the rural scenery and agricultural activities, homestays and restaurants are packed with guests and diners.

Known as Chinese Bee Town, Huaxi, in Chongqing's Shizhu Tujia autonomous county, has found its way to prosperity through rural tourism, planting huangjing and beekeeping.

Its per capita disposable income has risen to 20,691 yuan ($2,950), up from 14,312 yuan in 2019.

The village has also been beautified and upgraded with paved roads, new schools, a community center, a plaza and even a museum featuring Chinese beekeeping and honey making.

Five years ago, President Xi Jinping visited Huaxi to learn about progress in poverty relief and to solve prominent issues in the county during an inspection tour to Chongqing.

Huaxi was a typical example of an impoverished rural area, with per capita arable land of less than 700 square meters. Eighty-five of the village's 542 families were listed as poverty stricken by the local government.

Xi told the villagers that happiness is achieved through hard work and that people in poverty-stricken regions should make full use of the Party's policies and work hard for a better life.

Encouraged by Xi's words, the villagers have made full use of the local resources to plant huangjing and develop products such as huangjing noodles and preserved huangjing snacks.

In 2022, huangjing noodles from the village were exported to Australia and Singapore.

The village committee estimates that the huangjing-related industry will generate 5 million yuan ($690,000) in revenue for Huaxi this year.

More young and educated villagers are now willing to build careers at home.

Wang Qiushi, who used to work in big cities, returned to Huaxi in 2019 to help promote and sell local produce.

"Now we are working with a company in Hunan province to develop a tea made of huangjing," he said.

An art major at university, Wang designed logos for the herb to attract the interest of young customers.

To consolidate the accomplishment of poverty alleviation, Chongqing has focused on developing local agricultural specialties and implemented a campaign to cultivate industry.

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