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Goose breeders in Heilongjiang benefit from 'ice-city' tourism boom

By ZHOU HUIYING in Harbin | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-29 09:34
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Geese swim in a pond at an ecological farm in a village in Wuhu, Anhui province, Feb 25, 2024. [Photo/VCG]

Wang Huilong and his wife have been busy renovating their goose breeding farm in Shuangcheng district of Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, even during the Spring Festival break. In fact, they are building new-style greenhouses in preparation for the upcoming breeding season in May.

"We have sold all of the 30,000 geese we raised last year, with a sales value of over 2 million yuan ($277,810)," said the 39-year-old farmer of Tianjia village in the district. "I have planned to expand the breeding scale this year and am confident of getting a better income in the winter."

The tourism business in Northeast China, led by "ice city" Harbin, touched a historical high during the winter season, boosting sales of several related sectors such as locally reared white geese.

Apart from visiting scenic spots, many tourists to Harbin enjoy local delicacies such as tieguodun, or stewed meat and vegetables, made in a large iron pot.

"All the ingredients, including the meat, vegetables and steamed twisted rolls are cooked in a large pot. The different taste attracts lots of tourists," said Yao Lilong, general manager of a catering enterprise that has 22 tieguodun restaurants across the city. "Among all the types of meat, goose is the most favored."

Wang began to raise geese in 2012, and in 2015, he established the Harbin Haitao Goose Farming Professional Cooperative, attracting other goose breeders.

In 2017, Wang expanded the breeding farm from his country yard to a four-hectare farm, with a capacity to rear 30,000 geese.

"Before 2019, most of the geese were sold to the southern regions, such as the provinces of Yunnan and Guangdong, and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region," he said. "In recent years, the proportion of (sales to the) local market has risen, especially after the boom in winter tourism."

"Our cooperative sold over 100,000 geese this winter," he said. "More buyers also contacted me for purchasing geese. I passed on the information to my fellow villagers and those in nearby villages, helping them sell their geese at favorable prices."

According to the district's livestock production service center, the district's goose population reached 1,114,730 last year.

By the end of 2023, there were 4,912 goose breeding farms in the district and 636,783 edible geese had been sold.

"We are striving to accelerate the pace of industrial management of the goose breeding industry," said Xia Wei, director of the center. "A one-stop industrial chain of goose production, incubation, breeding, feed production, slaughtering and processing, freezing and sales has been basically formed in townships, including Qingling, Dongguan and Xiqin."

There have also been new developments in ecological breeding.

"There are a number of reservoirs and rivers in the district with abundant water resources," he said. "These resources can help farmers implement a three-dimensional ecological model, such as an integrated fish-goose breeding system, which can further improve economic benefits."

"In the future, we will actively provide more support to large-scale goose breeding enterprises, such as launching loan discount projects," said Xia. "Moreover, we will intensify our services to farmers, providing them with scientific guidance for epidemic prevention and disease control, as well as free provisions of bird flu and other animal vaccines."

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