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Cabbage queen helps farmers shake off poverty

Updated:2020-02-11 17:44:58   China · Yunnan

Yinchang is an extremely poor village in northeast Yunnan's Zhenxiong County, and it is located at the headwater region of the Chishui River. In the past, the villagers mainly grew corn, potatoes and other traditional crops, which did not bring in much money. 

In 2016, Rao Deju founded the Changhe Farmers Vegetable Cooperative and began to lead the villagers to grow alpine vegetables. In March 2018, Rao contracted 100 hectares of land in Yinchang to grow vegetables such as cabbages and carrots, but mainly cabbages. On this account, she is known among the villages as Cabbage Queen.

"Those working in the cooperative are basically from poor households," said Rao. Besides Yinchang, some poor farmers from Tanglang, Wafei and other villages also work in the cooperative.

The cooperative currently employs 80 villagers from registered poor households and each of them earns 100 yuan (US$14.3) per day. "If farmers from other poor households come to work here temporarily, they also get paid by the day," Rao said.

"We all trust her," a villager named Fu Fengyun said with a smile while harvesting the cabbages. She came to work in the cooperative in early 2019 and now earns a monthly salary of more than 3,000 yuan (US$428.38).

Rao also encourages the poor households that have not joined the cooperative to grow cabbages on their own. She not only teaches them the cabbage growing techniques for free but also helps them with sales. So far, these households have expanded their cabbage growing area to about 100 hectares.

The cooperative provides poor households with 150,000 yuan (US$21,419.39) worth of disease-resistant cabbage seeds for free every year.

When the cabbages are ready for sale, Rao helps find buyers for the poor villagers, who complete the transactions by themselves. "They are my fellow villagers. Of course I should help them," Rao said.

The cabbages have become the main cash crop for the poor households. According to Wen Peng, a principal village leader of Yinchang, the cooperative has helped 225 poor households to increase their income by growing cabbages.

By Peng Yunjia

Keywords:   Cabbage queen poverty