Cao’s hometown, Longxian County in the city of Baoji, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, boasts vast tracts of pasture, making it a key area for livestock rearing in the province.
In recent years, Longxian has developed the dairy goat farming industry into its featured industry, establishing a relatively complete industrial chain, including forage planting, dairy goat husbandry and dairy production.
The county now has 184 large-scale dairy goat farms and a stock of about 520,000 dairy goats. The output value of the whole industry chain has risen to 7 billion yuan (about 1 billion U.S. dollars).
Booming development has attracted more local farmers and young people like Cao to participate in the industry.
“Alfalfa is usually sold to farmers and companies to feed dairy goats in Longxian. It is also a well-received potherb in south China, so I began to sell it through my online store in 2020,” said Cao.
By cooperating with about 30 local farmers, he sold over 25,000 kg of alfalfa last year on the e-commerce platform.
“More people are ’embedded’ in the extended industrial chain,” said Li Yichao, general manager of Herds Dairy Group, a leading dairy producer in Longxian, with over 1,200 employees. The company has also created a further 1,500 jobs across the whole industrial chain.
The developments in Longxian County are a fine example of China’s growing efforts in recent years to leverage the role of featured county-level industries in increasing income and boosting employment for locals.
According to a recently released document, efforts should be made to develop county-level industries and commerce systems, as well as to encourage rural residents to obtain employment or start businesses locally.
Qianyang County, also in the city of Baoji, is a key production base and seedling breeding base of dwarf rootstock apples. Within the county, approximately 130,000 mu (about 8,667 hectares) of land is used for dwarf rootstock apples and 30,000 mu (2,000 hectares) for apple seedlings.
With a bachelor’s degree in agronomy, Li Jing, 25, works in a local apple seedling breeding base, with over 30 workers, including university graduates. “The solid industry foundation in my hometown has a powerful magnetizing effect on young people like me,” said Li.
Each year, the seedling breeding base provides locals with nearly 40,000 job opportunities, such as crop spraying and branch binding.
Flourishing county-level industries help boost employment for locals, and by engaging in skills training, farmers will in turn better serve the local featured industries, said He Hongjun, deputy head of Qianyang County.
“Featured county-level industries with extending industrial chains will promote employment for people who have shaken off poverty, accelerate the return of migrant workers, and provide a broad employment market for job-seekers,” said Zhang Qiong, associate professor with the Renmin University of China.