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Beekeeping has village buzzing

By Liu Xiangrui in Huayuan, Hunan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-01 07:33

Beekeeping has village buzzing

Long Xianlan removes weeds from land on which he plans to plant flowers for his bees. Liu Xiangrui / China Daily

Editor's note: In the run-up to the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress, China Daily sent six reporters to live for a month in poor villages to see how China's poverty eradication plan is improving people's lives.

While nearly all young people in Shibadong village leave home seeking higher incomes in cities, 31-year-old Long Xianlan was one of a handful who returned to earn a living locally.

Shibadong, located in the remote mountainous county of Huayuan in the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao autonomous prefecture of Central China's Hunan province, is home to members of the Miao ethnic group.

It used to be a poverty-stricken village with little arable land and a poor transportation system, but things began to change a few years ago.

In 2013, President Xi Jinping visited the village and called for the implementation of measures to help pull villagers out of poverty, which encouraged Long to return home in 2014.

"You can't be a migrant worker forever," Long said. "It's better to return and map out a long-term business plan."

He began selling fish, but due to his inexperience, his efforts were unsuccessful.

However, with the support of a poverty alleviation work team formed by the county government, Long developed a solid business plan.

Growing up, he watched senior villagers maintain beehives, and his grandmother used to prepare a small bottle of honey for him during the Spring Festival holiday.

"We suggested Long make a living from beekeeping, and we offered to provide support, including the training he required," said Long Xiulin, the head of the alleviation work team at the time.

After attending a free two-week training course on beekeeping, Long Xianlan started maintaining four hives in late 2014.

At first, he required help from his trainer to solve problems he encountered, and he spent most of his spare time studying his new profession.

"I learned mostly through trial and error," said Long Xianlan, who also asked senior villagers about traditional beekeeping methods.

"Beekeeping is not tiring work. The most important thing is to pay close attention to the bees and maintain the hives properly."

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