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'Green' bank plots farmers' success

China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-27 09:55

NANCHANG-Jin Zhufu, a processor of bamboo products, eased his financial hardship through a special bank loan he obtained by mortgaging a forest plot for 15 years.

"With the loan worth 850,000 yuan ($131,000), I could not only repay my debts but also expand my bamboo workshop," said Jin from Zixi county in Jiangxi province.

Previously, the 33.3 hectares of land was planted with redwood instead of bamboo and barely generated any profit for Jin. However, thanks to the Liangshan Bank, the first of its kind in Jiangxi, green resources that Jin had once deemed useless could be turned into assets.

The name Liangshan Bank, meaning "the bank of two mountains", came from the Chinese leadership's concept of "lucid waters and lush mountains" being "invaluable assets".

The Zixi Liangshan Bank was established in August as part of the province's efforts to establish itself as a national ecological conservation pilot zone. It is not a traditional bank and instead serves as a platform for integrating the management rights of green resources to make better use of them. Members of the public mortgage their resources to the platform, which then obtains a loan from a commercial bank for them.

Instead of simply holding Jin's plot, Liangshan Bank, in cooperation with the ecological industrial association, was able to lease it to companies for production on the proviso that the environment is protected.

The redwood plot was leased to an ecotourism company to develop projects.

He Yamin, general manager of a local company, said his enterprise had leased a bamboo plot from the platform for producing shoots, which will be processed into snacks.

"Our wet bamboo shoot products are five times the price of dried bamboo shoots growing on the land in the past. The added value is 10 times as much," He said.

Jin Jianhua, director of the county's office of finance, said Zixi has a forest coverage rate of 87.7 percent, but the income generated by it accounted for less than 1 percent of farmers' total income.

Since its establishment, the platform has integrated forest resources of up to 6,700 hectares, which have been used for green food, tourism, carbon trade industries and the planting of higher value trees.

"With the Liangshan Bank as a platform to integrate green resources, market vitality has been unleashed," Jin Jianhua said.


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