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Bamboo trees help villagers grow local wealth and beauty in Sichuan

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-09-25 13:47
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A villager makes handicrafts by using bamboo in Yibin, Sichuan province, which has abundant bamboo resources. [Photo by Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua]

CHENGDU - Working hard to cook dishes made from different parts of bamboo in his restaurant, Liao Song welcomes the busiest time of the year at the Shunan bamboo tree resort.

Liao, 36, owns a restaurant in the city of Yibin, in Southwest China's Sichuan province. Located in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the city has a climate favorable for growing bamboo.

"When I was young, my parents would cut down the bamboo and sell them to a local bamboo products factory to make ends meet for our family," he said.

In the 1980s, the local government decided to develop tourism at the bamboo tree resort of Yibin.

In 2006, he quit his job, returned to the city and opened the restaurant, which seats 200, at the bamboo tree resort.

"My restaurant is one of the favorites at the resort. We sell 2,000 to 3,000 kilograms of preserved pork made with my own recipe every winter," he said.

With the resort attracting more and more tourists, he now earns an annual income of over 200,000 yuan ($29,169) from the restaurant.

"We still cut the bamboo, but we cut them to help them grow and make our home green," he said.

With an area of more than 8,667 hectares of bamboo trees, the resort received 1.3 million visitors, bringing in 757 million yuan in total revenue last year.

"We aim to increase bamboo planting by an area of 27,000 hectares and its economic output to 30 billion yuan by 2020," said Lei Jingwei, head of the forestry department of Yibin.

According to Lei, the city now grows 208,000 hectares of bamboo, and apart from tourism, it is also developing bamboo-related industries.

Huang Yuanqiang, who has worked in the construction industry for many years, invested 40 million yuan and opened a factory producing floorboards in the city's Changning county in 2014.

"Bamboo floorboards can be used for outdoor decking, as bamboo does not rot as easily as wood," he said. It is estimated that the company will have an economic output of 150 million yuan when it reaches full production capacity.

Fans can also be made from bamboo. Panda, a fan-making company in Xingguang village, for instance, has created 200 jobs since it was founded six years ago, most of which have gone to female villagers like Fu Hongmei.

Fu, now a mother of two, can process nearly 600 fans each day, earning up to 30,000 yuan a year. She said she is satisfied with her job at the village fan-making company. "I can earn some money and enjoy more freedom while taking care of the family," Fu said.

Panda produces about 2 million bamboo fans, which are all sold to Japan, according to Wan Ying, an executive at the company.

The city of Yibin plans to develop bamboo-related industries and foster 20 major bamboo-related businesses by 2020 to create jobs and increase local incomes.


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