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Rooted in sustainability

Ancient cultivation system lauded as global green model sows seeds of success, Alexis Hooi and Zhang Yu report in Chengde, Hebei province.

By ALEXIS HOOI and ZHANG YU | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-18 10:20
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A chestnut farmer works in the fields of Kuancheng county, Hebei province, during the September harvest.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Farmer Liu Jingyi would play at the family chestnut tree just outside their yard when he was a child, climbing up its branches and into the hollow of its trunk.

"It was a big tree, the trunk about a meter wide, probably more than 600 years old and very much a part of our lives," says Liu, now 79.

Liu is a fifth-generation cultivator of chestnut trees in Aiyukou village of the Kuancheng Manchu autonomous county in Chengde, North China's Hebei province.

The village is a center of chestnut cultivation. More than 400 Aiyukou households covering nearly 700 hectares of farmland together yield about 1,000 metric tons of the nuts a year, with many of the trees hundreds of years old. About 50,000 hectares in Kuancheng are used to farm chestnuts, with an annual output value of 860 million yuan ($119 million), according to latest industry figures.

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