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Growing gardening economy revitalizes rural tourism

China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-21 09:03
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CHENGDU — About an hour's drive from the main venue of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2024 Chengdu, villages are reaping the benefits of the flourishing gardening industry and the rise in eco-tourism.

Since its completion in April 2022, the rose garden in Jiang'an Flower Village of Mianzhu township in Leshan, has attracted about 180,000 visitors.

"The daily maintenance, management and supporting services of the rose garden have not only brought employment opportunities to the surrounding residents and increased their incomes by a total of over 200,000 yuan ($28,170), but also turned the deserted land into an 'internet-famous' site," said Cheng Xiaoying, who is in charge of the garden's operation.

Cheng plans for the rose garden to become a research and learning base for nearby schools, where students can learn from Mother Nature directly through picking fruit and other activities.

In the rose garden, workers are seen busy watering, deworming and fertilizing under the sun.

"I'm glad to see the influx of visitors to our rose garden every single day. For a person at my age, it is not easy to find a job near your home that you really like," said Tong Guilan, a 47-year-old from the nearby Mianzhupu community.

Tong earns 120 yuan a day working in the garden. "More than 20 people in our village have had a job land at their doorstep like me," she added.

Last year, the annual per capita income of residents in Tong's community reached 43,200 yuan, an increase of 200 percent compared with 2016.

In another village of Leshan, Guanyin village, farmers fertilize and weed the jasmine fields in the run-up to the jasmine harvest season at the end of this month. "The local government has led us to develop jasmine planting and strongly supported us in terms of stabilizing flower prices, channeling the market and improving industrial technologies," said Liu Zhengtian, a farmer in Guanyin village of Qingxi township. Last year, Liu planted about 0.4 hectares of jasmine flowers.

Guanyin village has about 267 hectares of jasmine, and Qingxi township boasts more than 1,667 hectares of jasmine. The Qingxi jasmine planting area now ranks first in Southwest China, with its annual output value of jasmine tea topping 224 million yuan.

Leshan has strived to develop its flower planting industry, from simple planting to the deep integration of primary, secondary and tertiary industries, making the local natural scenery become a leading industry sector and a cash cow for its farmers.

In late April, the International Horticultural Exhibition 2024 Chengdu opened in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province. The expo's flourishing gardens will be on display until Oct 28.

"With the help of the expo, we hope to further promote our cultural tourism projects in combination with Leshan's popular tourist attractions to attract more visitors," said Zhu Wenhui, director of the neighborhood committee of Mianzhupu community.

"We also want to invite more urbanites in Chengdu to travel to the countryside at weekends and make our village their 'backyard garden' so that they can feel the great changes of the rural areas and their cultures," Zhu added.


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