Improved logistics put pepper in the fast lane

China Daily | Updated: 2020-08-11 09:17
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Traders choose Sichuan peppers at a fair held in Wudu. CAI YANG/XINHUA

Quality Sichuan pepper produced in Longnan's Wudu district was sold for up to 8 yuan a kilogram 30 years ago, twice the average daily salary of most workers in western China at the time.

Sichuan pepper brought fortune to Kou's family, and even a taste of the unknown. Once, his father bought peanuts back home from Sichuan after selling his pepper in the province. "It was the first time that I'd ever seen or eaten peanuts. I ate too many and suffered from diarrhea and vomiting for days," Kou said. "But Sichuan pepper gave me a glimpse of the outside world."

Despite such humble beginnings, the younger generation has spiced up the narrative in recent years, taking advantage of improved logistics and introducing fresh ideas, aided by favorable government policies.

Kou set up a Sichuan pepper cooperative in 2003 after completing military service. Since then it has lifted over 90 households out of poverty.

"Great potential in the demand for Sichuan pepper has revved up local growers' enthusiasm," said Chen Hongyan, head of an organization in Wudu that serves the Sichuan pepper trade.

In 2003, the local government designated the industry as a prime way to eliminate poverty, encouraging large-scale planting and bolstering the logistical infrastructure.

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