In Wuxuan county, Laibin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, a village once grappling with poverty, has found a new and fruitful path to prosperity.
Without much fertile land, Helyu Village in Tongling town, which is on the Tropic of Cancer, used to lack a pillar industry. In 2015, about 18 percent of the villagers lived under the poverty line. The average annual per capita income was 2,823 yuan ($403).
Nevertheless, the introduction of agricultural technology and a new business model into Helyu, where most residents are of the Zhuang ethnic group, has changed the face of the village. The no-soil culturing technique -- using fermented plant residue and manure -- enables cantaloupe to be harvested three seasons per year in the village. Collectively-owned farms were established in 2016 and more than 300 greenhouses have been set up.
The village currently has 17 hectares of cantaloupe fields, attracting more than just impoverished families as shareholders. Villagers can apply for small loans to join the cooperatives, with the interest being covered by the government.
Last year's sales reached 1.35 million yuan. Several retail stores later opened in nearby towns, providing a bonus to villagers. In 2019, the average annual income per capita in Helyu Village was 8,740 yuan, and only 0.13 percent of its population still lived under the poverty line.