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Strawberry brings sweet life to villagers in China's Liaoning

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-04-12 16:04

DALIAN -- Beaded with sweat on his face, Cai Hengwei is busy picking strawberries grown in his greenhouses in Diyinhe village of Zhuanghe city, Northeast China's Liaoning province.

Inside the greenhouses, the red strawberries and green leaves complement each other. "This strawberry season will end in May, so we have to hurry up to get a good harvest," said Cai, with eyes looking at the strawberry plants to search for ripe ones.

"My family has rented two greenhouses covering about 0.33 hectares. Today we picked some 40 kg of strawberries," Cai noted.

After being put in plates and weighed, the strawberries are loaded onto a truck parked at the doorstep of the greenhouse. Based on the purchasing price of the day, the strawberries are sold for over 800 yuan (about $116).

"From planting seedlings in September last year to harvesting the last season in May, excluding the cost of renting and seedlings, among others, the gross profit of these two greenhouses can reach 200,000 yuan, which is better than being a migrant worker," said Cai.

Diyinhe used to be a low-income village and the villagers couldn't earn much money by farming. To improve the family income, they usually chose to take a job away from their home village, and Cai was one of them.

"After I graduated from middle school at the age of 17, I went to work in Dalian City, and took various jobs," Cai said, "After more than 10 years of working away from home, I got married and had children, and I thought about going back to my hometown to start a business."

In 2020, Diyinhe constructed greenhouses with the support of government funds to develop strawberry planting. Cai, who just returned home, immediately signed up.

"Although I was born in the village, I had never planted strawberries. I knew nothing about strawberry planting at first," Cai recalled, saying that the strawberry seedlings were all dead due to infection less than a month after he planted for the first time in September 2020.

Looking at the withered strawberry seedlings in the field, Cai was determined to learn strawberry planting techniques. "I learned from scratch, and I learn from whoever grows well," he said.

From planting seedlings to fertilization, every step of strawberry planting involves technical work. After unremitting efforts, Cai has gradually mastered the "secrets" of planting, and the strawberries he planted are plump and sweet in taste now.

"Inspired by Cai, some villagers also joined in to plant strawberries and increased their income," said Li Xiao, a village official.

Not long ago, Li invited strawberry planting experts to give a lecture in the village, attracting some 20 villagers to attend.

Following the advice of the experts, Cai has new expectations. "Next year, I plan to introduce a new variety called 'Snow White,' which is more expensive and sells better," he said.

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