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Olive tree planting paves way towards well-off life

2021-11-04 15:32

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LANZHOU, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Trees are turning orange and yellow with autumn colors in late October, and farmers like Jia Yongxiang in Longnan City, northwest China's Gansu Province, became busy harvesting olive trees that have brought significant changes to his family.

As a woody-oil plant traditionally planted in the Mediterranean Basin, olive trees have been cultivated across China since their introduction to China in the 1960s.

Longnan is such a place, where, due to its similar climate and soil conditions to that along the Mediterranean coast, olive began to take root and sprout since 1975.

After years of effort, Longnan became one of the most important olive planting bases in China, dubbed as the "hometown of olive in China."

Jia, from Jinping village of Waina Township, and many other villagers used to live in poverty because grain crops only yield a low output.

In 2002, the local government encouraged villagers to plant olive. Jia volunteered to give it a try, but the idea of planting an alien species was considered risky among most villagers.

The local government provided Jia and others with quality tree species and advanced cultivation techniques. He spared no efforts to prune, weed, water and fertilize the saplings.

It was until 2008 that the trees started to harvest, and Jia earned over 8,000 yuan (about 1,250 U.S. dollars) that year, higher than what he could earn by planting traditional crops.

The outcome further boosted his confidence to expand the planting area, and he received technical support from the local government and olive processing companies.

Villagers were also inspired to join the expanding business, with their fruits purchased by a processing plant. "It is difficult to preserve fresh fruits, so the plant helps relieve the pressure by signing orders with us," he said.

In 2016, Jia's planting area of olive expanded to about 6 hectares, bringing him an income of nearly 200,000 yuan yearly. With the money, he built a three-story house in the village and later bought two apartments in the urban area.

To encourage more villagers, Jia took the lead to set up a cooperative and provided participants with quality branches to grow. "It is imperative to take the road of common prosperity."

"A good industry is sustainable and ensures a well-off life for generations," he said.
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