A few decades ago, a farm located in Lianhua County, situated in the eastern part of China’s Jiangxi Province, had a humble beginning with only seven pomelo trees. Pomelo is a type of citrus fruit with a thick, greenish-yellow rind and a slightly sweet and sour taste. However, the farm has come a long way since then, and today it has expanded to cover 2,000 mu (133 hectares) of land, with more than 70,000 pomelo trees.
Liu Yunwan, the founder of the farm, who is now in his late 70s, reflected on the humble beginnings of the farm, stating that the original seven pomelo trees were witnesses to the transformation of barren mountains into pomelo forests that could bring wealth to locals. This statement highlights the profound impact that the farm has had on the local community, providing a source of income and economic stability for the villagers.
In the 1980s, Shijiang village in Shengfang township, Lianhua county, was designated as a provincial-level poverty-stricken village. Liu Yunwan, the then-secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) branch of the village, recognized the potential of planting fruit trees on the barren mountains as a means of transforming the local economy.
Before the establishment of the pomelo farm, the villagers had planted various types of fruit trees. However, they struggled to adapt to local conditions, resulting in inferior fruits. Moreover, the abundance of certain fruits in the market and a lack of logistics prevented the farmers from selling their produce, which ultimately dampened their enthusiasm for planting fruit trees.
In an attempt to improve the quality of the pomelo trees, Liu Yunwan purchased 30 pomelo trees from other areas and tried to graft parts of them onto the local pomelo varieties. Unfortunately, after a sudden cold spell, only seven trees survived. Despite the setback, Liu remained undeterred and persevered with his vision of cultivating high-quality pomelo trees.
Fortunately, policies supporting agriculture and farmers implemented by various levels of government in China have enabled Liu to continue his efforts. He planted 19 different varieties of pomelo trees on a trial basis and successfully cultivated a new variety of pomelo in 2014. This development underscores the importance of government support in promoting agricultural innovation and increasing productivity, ultimately leading to economic growth and stability in rural communities.
With the success of the pomelo farm, Liu Yunwan’s vision to create a sustainable local economy through fruit tree cultivation has come to fruition. The farm has not only provided a source of income for the villagers but has also brought economic stability to the region. The farm’s success has also inspired other farmers in the area to invest in fruit tree cultivation, paving the way for further economic growth and development.
The expansion of the farm also highlights the growing demand for pomelo in China and other parts of the world. Pomelo is a popular fruit in many countries and is known for its health benefits. It is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and is believed to aid digestion and boost immunity. As a result, the demand for pomelo has been on the rise, leading to an increase in production and an expansion of farms like the one in Lianhua county.
The expansion also highlights the rapid growth of China’s agriculture sector. The farm’s success story is a result of the government’s push towards modernizing the country’s agricultural practices and encouraging farmers to adopt new technologies and methods to increase productivity.
Liu Yunwan’s daughter, Liu Guixiang, has continued her father’s legacy by following in his footsteps, and in 2020, Liu Yunwan’s nephew joined the farm and established an e-commerce team, which Liu’s grandson joined the following year. This family’s commitment to the pomelo farm has resulted in over 100 households becoming involved in the industry, planting the new variety of pomelo on over 1,000 mu of land.
Thanks to the Liu family’s efforts, many farmers have entered the pomelo industry through the farm. Those who transferred land to the farm receive rent, while those who work for it earn salaries and sales commissions. As a result, the farm has signed long-term employment contracts with over 40 individuals. During the peak season, over 100 farmers and previously impoverished individuals work at the farm, increasing their annual income by an average of over 20,000 yuan (about $2,948.40).
The Liu family’s efforts have not only transformed the local economy but have also provided employment opportunities for many individuals. The pomelo farm has played a significant role in alleviating poverty in the region by providing a stable source of income for local farmers. Through the use of modern e-commerce practices and the establishment of long-term employment contracts, the Liu family’s farm has established itself as a sustainable and successful business model. The farm’s continued success is a testament to the importance of government support and private initiative in promoting economic growth and stability in rural communities.
In 2022, the farm achieved remarkable success by producing 1.3 million kilograms of pomelos, all of which were sold out within 45 days. According to Fan Xiangmei, a worker who earns nearly 30,000 yuan per year at the farm, many packages of their pomelos were delivered to Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. She also noted that the farm’s pomelos are in high demand due to their exceptional quality.
Liu Guixiang, the daughter of the farm’s founder, stated that it is the farm’s brand and reputation that have made their pomelos so popular in major cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen. She added that the farm has received recognition as a provincial-level modern agriculture demonstration park, further cementing its reputation for producing high-quality pomelos.
For three generations, the Liu family has been committed to planting top-quality pomelo trees, which have helped many locals increase their incomes. The farm’s success has inspired officials from Shengfang township to expand the growing areas of pomelo trees and establish agricultural tourism bases to involve more villagers in the pomelo industry and promote rural vitalization.
The farm’s success in the pomelo industry serves as a model for promoting agricultural innovation, increasing productivity, and boosting rural economies. Through hard work, dedication, and a commitment to quality, the Liu family has transformed a barren mountainside into a thriving farm that has created numerous employment opportunities, contributed to poverty reduction, and helped to revitalize the local community.