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January 3, 2024  People's Daily Online  

Medicinal Herbs Generate Wealth for Villagers in NW China's Qinghai

Case Study; Innovative Poverty Alleviation Initiative; Medicinal Herbs Production; Qinghai

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Northwest China's Qinghai Province boasts of exceptional geographical conditions and an abundance of medicinal resources, particularly authentic medicinal herbs. The cultivation of Chinese and Tibetan medicinal herbs has emerged as a way for local residents to increase their incomes and prosper in Qinghai.

"The climate, hydrology, and soil environment in Huangzhong district provide ideal conditions for the cultivation of medicinal herbs. Tumenguan township, located in the mountainous region of the district, offers a relatively flat terrain suitable for growing astragalus and rhubarb, along with other medicinal herbs," said Li Baojuan, a local official from Tumenguan township in Huangzhong district, Xining, the capital city of the province.

The favorable growing conditions provide a foundation for the development of the Chinese and Tibetan medicinal herb industry.

In 2021, the provincial forestry and grasslands bureau of Qinghai officially acknowledged 18 types of Chinese and Tibetan medicinal herbs as the primary authentic herbs in the province. These include cordyceps, goji berries, Tanggute rhubarb and more.

To open up the market for medicinal herbs, Qinghai has established a Chinese and Tibetan medicinal herb industry development association and signed cooperation agreements with companies in Beijing, Zhejiang Province and other places. These efforts have facilitated the development of the local medicinal herb industry and enhanced its market competitiveness.

Yang Shoulin, head of Qinghai Zhengde Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Development Co., Ltd., has calculated the profits of cultivating astragalus.

He said one mu (0.067 hectares) of land can yield 900 kilograms of fresh astragalus roots, which sell for 9 yuan ($1.23) per kilogram. This translates to a total output value of 8,100 yuan per mu. After deducting 4,679 yuan in production costs, the net profit amounts to 3,421 yuan.

At a Chinese and Tibetan medicinal herb processing workshop, various processed medicinal herbs, including Angelica sinensis and Codonopsis, were on display.

A workshop staff member explained that their production is entirely based on orders, ensuring that the products meet the specific needs of the clients.

Contract farming offers several advantages. It facilitates the establishment of purchase and sales contracts between farmers and professional cooperatives, allowing for fair pricing and stable trade relationships.

Moreover, it addresses the challenges faced by farmers in the circulation and sales of medicinal herbs, creates a sales channel for high-quality agricultural products, reduces business risks for farmers, and ensures operational efficiency.

In 2023, Qinghai Zhengde Agricultural and Animal Husbandry Development Co., Ltd. cultivates medicinal herbs on 850 mu of land. It also implements contract farming on 2,113 mu of land. Furthermore, the company plans to procure 8,200 tons of medicinal herbs from other farmers.

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