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Planting blackcurrants helps bring prosperity to Fuyun in Xinjiang

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated: January 22, 2021

The compressors are working, and the plump blackcurrants are turning into juicy pulp at an agricultural development company in an industrial park in Fuyun county, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Blackcurrants are a nutritious fruit rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins, and have become popular with consumers in recent years, said Zhang Wei, general manager of the company.

Zhang said he took a fancy to the county because of its large planting area and the high quality of the fruit, and so made an investment to start his business there in 2014.

His company produces jam, wine and pastries with blackcurrants, Zhang said, adding that they work with cooperatives and farmers to ensure the supply of raw materials and the sale of their deep processing products.

The county has rolled out a suite of preferential policies to develop the blackcurrant planting sector and related industries, and to help increase local farmers' and herdmen’s income.

It has more than 26,000 mu (17.33 sq km) of land for growing the fruit and an annual production capacity of 1,200 tons.

According to a local farmer named Bahesi, the county offers seedling trees for free and invites professionals to give instructions on techniques ranging from planting to management.

Bahesi was among the first to plant blackcurrants in the county in 2009. He grew 100 seedling trees in his backyard and harvested about 500 kilograms that year, earning more than 8,000 yuan ($1,238.4).

Many fellows joined Bahesi and learned to grow the fruit after they saw the profits. A cooperative was then launched by him and another 30-plus households.

They planted blackcurrants on a 1,500-mu land. Other farmers transferred their land use rights to them and they raised a 210,000-yuan fund to build hydropower infrastructure facilities.

Thanks to cooperation with a company, the planters don’t have to worry about sales, Bahesi said. According to him, the cooperative members’ average income increases reached 13,000 yuan on a yearly basis.

One of the villagers that transferred his right of land use to the cooperative said he earned an additional income of 30,000 yuan last year from the transfer and from his employment in the cooperative.

The county has brought in two blackcurrant deep processing enterprises and launched a total of 13 planting cooperatives. The fruit has also grown into a signature local agricultural product.

Fuyun plans to expand the planting area to 30,000 mu in 2021, and it is expected to produce 1,500 tons of fresh fruit every year.

Qiu Jianjiang, an official from the local bureau of agriculture and rural affairs, said the county will spare no effort in increasing villagers’ income and helping to revitalize villages through developing advantageous industries.