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Beekeeping has village buzzing

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

Long Xianlan has now become a major local beekeeper, increasing the number of hives he maintains to 60. Last year, he sold his entire harvest in five days through online advertising and recommendations by friends and old customers, earning about 20,000 yuan ($2,920).

This year, Long Xianlan plans to move his hives to a bigger open area in the village, where he can plant flowers and will have space to double the number of beehives he maintains.

The rapid growth of honey sales led him to establish a beekeeping cooperative in the village at the end of last year, with the number of families taking part increasing from five to 12 in just six months.

Cooperative members manage their own hives, while Long Xianlan passes on his skills and knowledge to help them with honey sales.

"I will invite more villagers to join the cooperative, as demand outweighs supply," he said, adding that the high-quality honey made from using traditional beekeeping methods enables him to sell it at a higher price.

Long Xianlan had worked in an auto parts factory in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, for six years before returning home. He was earning nearly 3,000 yuan a month, but it was hard to save money due to the high living costs, he said.

"Although my income level is still lower than that of migrant workers in the cities, I am confident that I can catch up with them in one or two years, and I can continue to expand my business."

In 2015, Long Xianlan met his wife at a blind-dating event organized by the village committee, and they married last year.

He said that, in the past, women were not willing to marry men from the village because of their poverty, but now people's incomes have increased, a number of men have found wives in the village.

Long Xianlan and his wife also grow vegetables and run a small roadside shop near their beehives. They even produce smoked meat products to sell to tourists, which earned them more than 10,000 yuan last year.

"I believe more young people will return to the village," he said.

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