Impoverished county promotes potato economy

Publish time: 20th July, 2016      Source: China Daily
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Updated: 2016-07-19


The second potato flower festival is underway this month in Lan, a county within the Shanxi province's Lvliang city. Blossoming potato flowers in the fields and potato-made dishes on the table are attracting both visitors and investors to county this summer.


As one of the China's national poverty-stricken counties, Lan has boosted the income of the local people and has promoted tourism through potatoes.


The county has a nearly 200-year-old history of potato plantings. Because of the large temperature difference between day and night and green planting environments, an environment similar to the potato-growing conditions in the Andes Mountains in South America, the potatoes from Lan have become famous in Shanxi.


However, frequent droughts and cold climates were not the proper conditions for wheat planting, which is what led to poverty in the area. Lan's local government has been vigorously working to help farmers overcome poverty through the planting and selling of potatoes.


Under the national strategy of adding potatoes as the staple food in China, the county has established the largest virus-free, potato-breeding base in Lvliang city. The "Lan County Potato" has also been recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture as a qualified geographical indication product.


The cultivated area of potato in Lan is around 30,000 mu with a yearly output of 480,000 tons. The net income of potato planting for farmers reached 2,260 yuan ($337.5) per person, which is more than half of their income.


The county held the first potato flower festival last year, an event which attracted 180,000 visitors. Local farmers signed selling contracts of more than 200,000 tons of potatoes through the festival, which took more than half of the annual output.