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Sanming story illuminating amid bamboo industry

By Luan Ruiying | gofujian.com.cn | Updated: 2024-01-12

Bamboo plantation creates jobs, bringing wealth to villagers

In late autumn, the mountain peaks in Yongan, a county-level city of Sanming city in Fujian province, are rolling and the bamboo forests are verdant and green. Among the green mountains are such busy figures as forest farmers, bamboo farmers, workers and other bamboo industry practitioners.

"As for more than 120 mu (8 hectares) of the bamboo forest, the annual output value is between 400,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan. Our life is getting better and better." said Lan Guangchun, village secretary of Mahong village, Yongan city.

When it comes to the reasons behind this, "Forest reform has really helped our villagers get rid of poverty and live a satisfactory life," Lan Guangchun added.

Hongtian village is surrounded by mountains and forests, and its per capita woodland area is 28 acres. In the 1990s, due to the unclear property rights of mountains and forests, deforestation was serious, resulting in the one dilemma, that is, villagers could not get sustainable huge benefits from rich forest resources.

Hongtian villagers learnt from the land contract responsibility system and applied this logic to the mountains and bamboo forests. The village’s 12,800 mu (853.3 hectares) of commercial forest property rights are proportionally distributed to the household. The village has set up a total of 16 management groups, and signed contract management contracts, cleared the rights and responsibilities of all parties.

The forest farmers at Hontian village were also guided to innovate their rights of ownership of bamboo forests, and subcontract their rights or lease these forests to achieve a moderate scale of management, which not only restored the green mountains, but also ameliorated people's livelihood. Taking the situation in 2020-2021 as an example, in accordance with the policy of 1,300 cubic meters of bamboo harvesting, the net income of Hongtian villagers reached 1.3 million yuan, and the average household income from bamboo harvesting was 5,600 yuan. These successful practices laid the foundation for Sanming city to reform collective forest rights,and build up the bamboo industry. It also explored a new way for Fujian province to take the lead in promoting the reform of collective forest rights system nationwide.

Sanming city is one of the national key forest areas and national bamboo industry development demonstration areas. In 2022, the city's bamboo industry output value reached 27.8 billion yuan, an increase of 7.8 percent; In the first half of 2023, the city's bamboo industry output value reached 16.8 billion yuan, an increase of 11.33 percent.

Pan Zifan, deputy director of Sanming city’s forestry bureau, said: "In order to improve the quality and efficiency of the bamboo industry, on the one hand, we improve the management level of bamboo mountains, and provide equipment, manpower and subsidies for bamboo farmers in irrigation facilities and bamboo forest logging. On the other hand, while improving the production and sales channels of bamboo shoots, the variety and quality of bamboo and wood products are constantly optimized to improve the economic value of bamboos."

With the development of the bamboo industry, some bamboo processing enterprises have developed, promoting "replacing wood with bamboo" and "replacing plastic with bamboo", further increasing bamboo farmers' incomes and achieving ecological and economic benefits.

"More than 1,200 forestry enterprises have absorbed about 40,000 farmers’ employment, and the per capita annual income has increased by about 60,000 yuan." In addition, bamboo processing enterprises employ about 15,000 workers, and the per capita salary will reach around 80,000 yuan, which will increase farmers' income by 1.2 billion yuan in 2022, "said Chen Ping, director of Sanming city’s forestry bureau.

In fact, small bamboo not only develops into a sound bamboo industry, but also promotes the “under-forest” economy.

The economic utilization area under the bamboo forests of Yongan is 682,800 mu (45,500 hectares) (including bamboo shoots processing and utilization), and the total planting area under the bamboo forests is nearly 7,000 mu (466.7 hectares). The planting under the forests such as Anoectochilus and Reishi has formed a new pattern of the integration and development of the forest landscape utilization to achieve rural revitalization and green ecological development

"The vigorous development of the bamboo industry in Sanming echoes China’s green development," said one senior official of Sanming city.

China has initiated a three-year action plan to promote the use of bamboo as an alternative to plastic products to curb pollution. According to the plan, issued by state organs including the National Development and Reform Commission, by 2025, bamboo items used as a replacement for plastics would see further improvement in their quality, variety, scale and profitability. By then, the added value of these bamboo items will increase by 20 percent compared with the 2022 level, while the utilization rate of bamboo materials will rise by 20 percentage points.

Facing this development momentum, Sanming bamboo industry is also confronted with some challenges.

Liu Xiu, executive director of Yongan Bamboo Industry Research Institute, said that the bamboo industry faces problems such as labor shortages. rising harvesting and transportation costs year on year. On the one hand, some measures have been carried out to further improve the mechanization level of bamboo forest harvesting and transportation, and on the other hand, related official authorities have made efforts to optimize policy tools, form a policy combination of financing and technology, and open up the market scale of bamboo products and promote the sustainable development of Sanming bamboo industry through cross-regional cooperation such as Shanghai-Sanming cooperation.

Looking ahead, with the plan of "using bamboo instead of plastics" gradually taking root nationwide, the Sanming story of "a small bamboo thriving a big industry" will be passed on through more abundant practice. And the story of "lucid waters and lush mountains being invaluable assets" will continue to enrich and develop in the bright future.


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