Dragon Fruit Info
China Employment: Ex-migrant worker aims big in dragon fruit farming (China News)
DATE: NOV, 25, 2019 / MEDIA:
China Global Television Network
With a population of nearly 290 million at the end of 2018, migrant workers account for a large portion of China's employed individuals. Over time, many have decided to leave the big cities and head back to their hometowns for numerous reasons. Our reporter Wei Lynn Tang brings us one story from Meishan, Sichuan province.
These dragon fruit trees are starting to bear fruits in southwest China's Sichuan province – after undergoing a variety of experiments, trials and errors since 2016. The man behind it – 32-year old Wang Chengqing, moved back to his hometown in Renshou County four years ago.
WANG CHENGQING Founder, Sichuan Sanxian Ecological Agricultural Co. Ltd "I have a love-hate relationship with the agriculture industry. On the one hand, it isn't easy for us to escape from the countryside and eventually find stable work in the city. On the other hand, you get a huge sense of achievement when you see your plants bear fruit, and those fruits can help others and my village's development."
It was a pull factor for Wang as he saw the potential of the dragon fruit industry in China, which he describes as untapped. He says he's benefitted from the county government's help in communicating with the locals and sourcing rural contracted land. Having worked in an R&D center in Guangdong for about 12 years, Wang has also gained transferable skills.
WANG CHENGQING Founder, Sichuan Sanxian Ecological Agricultural Co. Ltd "After formulating a risk assessment and cost control process, we spent about 15-thousand yuan in investment costs on each mu, or per 600 square meters of land here, for planting dragon fruit. The R&D costs for the same kind of fruit in other areas might cost 30-thousand yuan, so we saved about half the cost."
WEI LYNN TANG Renshou County, Sichuan Province "You could say Wang is enjoying the fruits of his labor, but that was by no means a foregone conclusion. The local government has made efforts to bring migrants back, but it has to ensure that they do well and are able to sustain their employment or businesses."
Officials say 38-thousand have come back to Renshou in the past 7 years. This has brought about the employment of 125-thousand people: three times more the amount. A considerable feat, officials say, in a county where a quarter of its population of 1.6 million is out working.
LIU GANG Director, Renshou Migrant Workers Service Center "Besides helping returning migrants with sourcing land, we have also partnered with banks to provide loans between 150-thousand and 2 million yuan per disbursement, where entrepreneurs need not pay interest for the first two years. We have also built several online and service platforms, provided mentors and training, and incubation to help them get started and be able to compete in the market. This is because market analysis and judgment is their biggest challenge at this point."
And Wang plans to leverage on these platforms as he seeks to market his downstream dragon fruit products, such as wine, by year's end. Whether it's technical support to help with packaging, or loans to invest in processing plants, Wang's journey as a returning migrant worker is a measured but fulfilling one. WLT, CGTN, Renshou County in Sichuan province.