Roses bring prosperity to Shandong village
(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2019-12-13Print Print
A remote village in East China's Shandong province has seen a turn in fortune.
Song Weisong believes in the power of roses.
Twenty-one years ago, he was the first to transform his farmland into rose beds, when planting crops was still the first choice for farmers in Xihuangbu village, Zhaoxian town, Rizhao city, Shandong province.
"I heard that fresh cut roses are very profitable. After careful consideration, I gave up corn and wheat and started growing the flowers instead," he recalled.
"Others told me that I was being stupid and wouldn't be able to survive if I couldn't sell the flowers."
But Song had confidence that the flowers would eventually bring in an income. Because the local climate stays relatively moderate throughout the four seasons, he believed that the flowers would grow very well if they were properly cared for.
Three years later, Song's efforts paid off. His fresh cut roses earned him an income of more than 10,000 yuan ($1,422.39), while regular farmers were earning only 300 to 500 yuan a year from growing grain.
Inspired by Song, more locals later got involved in the flower industry, and their village has since become known as a "rose village".
Over the course of more than 20 years, Zhaoxian town has planted more than 6,000 mu (400 hectares) of roses.
In 2018, "Zhaoxian Rose" was approved as a Chinese Geographic Trademark.
Xihuangbu village, the heart of Zhaoxian's flower industry, has now formed a complete industrial chain. More than 60 percent of locals grow roses, while the rest are engaged in flower sales and processing.
Song said that the roses have provided a better life to many low-income families.
"You can make more than 30,000 yuan per mu growing roses, while for grain it's only around 1,000 or 2,000 yuan."
Song's flower field now expands over an area of more than 10 mu, bringing in at least 200,000 yuan every year.
Zhong Cuijuan, secretary of the village Party branch, said that in order to increase the added value of cut flower products, the village has introduced training courses on floriculture, gift packaging, e-commerce, and more in response to the increasing popularity of online shopping and a growing number of young customers.
"Villagers involved in selling flowers are now earning even more than planters after participating in the training courses," said Zhong.
In March this year, Zhaoxian town attracted a number of horticultural enterprises from Yunnan province – the world's second-largest flower market – and built a modern rose industrial park covering an area of about 36.07 hectares.
Zhang Yanjiao, head of the park, said that it makes use of the latest technology to grow roses and has a net yield of more than 40,000 yuan per mu.
The park will also help improve the quality of local roses and cultivation techniques and assist with the selling of roses in foreign markets.
"Our ultimate goal is to develop the local flower industry and turn it into a famous brand in North China, in order to bring more prosperity to local people," said Zhang Ying, Party secretary of Zhaoxian town.
An aerial photo taken on Nov 13 shows rose greenhouses in Zhaoxian town, Rizhao, Shandong province. [Photo by Wang Kai/Xinhua]
Roses grow in the modern rose industrial park in Zhaoxian town, Rizhao, Shandong province. [Photo by Wang Kai/Xinhua]
Zhang Yanjiao, head of the modern rose industrial park in Zhaoxian town, poses for a photo with some roses on Nov 13. [Photo by Wang Kai/Xinhua]
The park in Zhaoxian town, Rizhao, Shandong province makes use of the latest technology. [Photo by Wang Kai/Xinhua]