Tsao-ko planting enriches villagers in Gongshan County
In a roadside plantation in Dulongjiang Township, northwest Yunnan’s Gongshan Dulong and Nu Autonomous County, Mr. Fang Xinming and his family members were harvesting the amomum tsao-ko, an edible ginger-like plant that is also used medicinally.
The Fang family planted a total of more than 100 Chinese acres (7 hectares) of the medicinal herb, and they are really busy during the harvest season. So another 19 villagers were invited to help in picking, packaging, weighing, and accounting.
Growing at high altitudes in northwest Yunnan and the northern highlands of Vietnam, the amomum tsao-ko favors warm and humid climate in the forest or near the streams.
On the basis of a preliminary research, local authorities in Dulongjiang came up with the idea of Tsao-ko planting as a way to battle against poverty in early 2012, giving locals seedlings free of charge and training them in Tsao-ko planting skills.
As for the Fang family, they started planting the amomum tsao-ko in 2011, with their annual income ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 yuan.
Before 2011, Mr. Fang mainly grew corns, taros, and potatoes, but the family could only make ends meet without any extra income. Seeing the success of pilot planting in Dulongjiang, Fang joined in tsao-ko planting.
"Well, a total of 3,708 kilogram brought me a sum of more than 33,000 yuan!" Fang said the market price of the amomum tsao-ko this year is around 9 yuan per kilogram.
In 2018, the tsao-ko planting area in Dulongjiang township reached 68,000 Chinese acres (around 4,533 hectares), and the 1,004 metric tons of output increased the villagers’ income by 7.43 million yuan.
Reporting by Pan Yue, Zhao Pufan and Luo Chunming (Xinhua); trans-editing by Wang Shixue