By Yang Wenming
It’s still a bit chilly outside at this time of year, but in Martin Dabilly’s blueberry plant greenhouses, spring is everywhere.
Dabilly is a French agricultural engineer who arrived in Yunnan province, in southwestern China, 16 years ago. He once planted raspberries in the province and now runs a berry plantation in Longyuan Village, Songyang Township, Songming County in Kunming, capital of Yunnan.
During a business trip to China in 2006, Dabilly discovered that the raspberry, a very common fruit in Europe, was rarely sold in China. Therefore, he planned to bring the fruits to the Chinese market.
“Yunnan’s unique climate and ecology attracted me,” he said, explaining that the growing condition of raspberries is very demanding. The fruit needs sufficient sunshine, comfortable temperature and clean air, which is why the man chose Songming County. What is more important is that the local government attaches great importance to sustainable development, which is in line with its development philosophy.
Huang Jianwei, deputy director of the neighborhood committee of Songyang, Songming County, told People’s Daily that the local government, in an effort to promote the philosophy of green development, has provided multifaceted policy and capital support to farmers. to help them renew their mode of production.
Today, more and more neighborhood greenhouses use degradable films and organic fertilizers. In addition, the local government has constantly improved the treatment of the water environment, covering the banks of rivers with paddy fields as a natural way to improve water quality. It also initiates regular monitoring of soil and irrigation water to ensure safety.
“Our blueberry seedlings are mainly for the winter market,” Dabilly told People’s Daily as he checked the growth of seedlings at a blueberry seedling workshop. “We have potential customers in these places,” he said, pointing to several contiguous green dots on a map of Yunnan.
According to data released by the Yunnan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Yunnan Province has become one of the major berry producers in China. The province planted 101,200 mu (6,747 hectares) of blueberries in 2020, or 9.5 percent of the country’s total. Production was 35,000 tons, or 17.5% of China’s total production.
The Dabilly company has recorded increasingly high performances since its creation. Last year, he filed patents for six varieties of blueberries he grew, earning him numerous partners. Now the partners’ total blueberry planting area has exceeded 6,000 mu.
“I see this not only as a job, but also as a pursuit for me,” the man said.
Today, the Dabilly plantation employs more than 30 local villagers, who were market gardeners before working for the Frenchman. To help them learn berry planting skills as quickly as possible, Dabilly always gathered them together for instruction. Soon the villagers were able to identify the ripeness of the fruits, as well as pick and pack them quickly. “They are now semi-expert in berry picking,” Dabilly said.
Longyuan Village, while developing agriculture, has also attempted to establish star industries in recent decades. It has strengthened its support for companies and products with potential, in order to stimulate local economic development.
Sound industrial development has led to better livelihoods. “Many families in the village lived in houses built with mud and dirt, and villagers always came to the office on foot. But now most of them have built new houses and bought cars. I am happy to have witnessed all these changes,” said Dabilly.
The Frenchman is a cycling enthusiast. Every week, he cycled through the forests surrounding Longyuan Village with his friends. He loves the mountains, the trees, the greenery and the vitality. “This is where I enjoy my ideal lifestyle,” he told People’s Daily.