City in SE China pursues eco-industries

Photo shows the scenery of tea gardens in Datian county, Sanming, southeast China’s Fujian province. (Photo/Datian bureau of tourism, culture, radio, television and sports)

By developing eco-industries, Sanming city, southeast China’s Fujian province, has witnessed thriving economy and generated higher income for farmers.

The city has proved that a new path to prosperity based on a sound ecological environment is possible, and that ecological conservation and economic development are not meant to confront each other, but to reinforce each other.

“We neither spray tea leaves with pesticides nor weed our tea gardens during the tea growth and harvesting period, as we believe that true organic tea trees and weeds should co-exist in harmony,” said a tea planter of Wulongshan tea garden in Datian county, Sanming city.

The ecological garden with rows of tea trees has not only formed magnificent scenery, but filled the air with a fine scent.

The tea industry has led local residents in Datian to prosperity. Eighteen townships in the county now grow tea trees, a significant increase from four in the past, and the tea industry’s output value in the county has climbed to 3.5 billion yuan ($536.1 million) from less than 30 million yuan.

In Shaxian county of Sanming city, the Shaxian Hongbian Tea Factory has revived the ancient tea-making techniques of Hongbian tea, a variety of Chinese top tea oolong and a specialty of the county, and created jobs for impoverished people in the surrounding areas.

Now the tea industry in Sanming has offered a new path for helping locals become better-off, and become a vital engine driving the construction of its ecological function zones.

In Longjin town of Qingliu county, Sanming city, villagers have turned citrus industry into a cash cow. The collective income of some villages has increased from 40,000 yuan to 400,000 yuan and villagers have moved into new houses and bought cars.

Sanming has witnessed a benign interaction between a sound ecological environment and an optimized industrial structure.

In fact, many industries in Sanming couldn’t have been possible without a good ecological environment. One of the examples is the pharmaceutical industry in Mingxi county of Sanming.

Known as the “greenest county” in Fujian province, Mingxi is perfect for growing the Chinese yew, a type of rare tree in China that is demanding for the environment as well as a source of Taxol, a natural broad-spectrum anticancer substance.

Taking advantage of the natural conditions, Fujian South Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (FSP) in Mingxi county has developed its business and supplied its products to major domestic pharmaceutical factories, and will even enter the European and American markets in the near future.

Another example is the industry of tofu skin, a delicacy made from soybeans, in Qingliu county of the city. The specialty is known far and wide and its market value reaches 100 million yuan.

According to Yu Keshen and his wife, owners of a tofu skin store in the county, tofu skin with such a distinctive soybean aroma can only be made from the clear spring water and soybeans grown in Qingliu with lush mountains.

The sound ecological environment has become a cradle of industries, especially industries with particularly high standards.

Ecological beauty has become a name card of Sanming and symbolizes its “soft power” to attract investment.

The city has reached a broad consensus about ecological conservation, which is best reflected in its forestry reform.

In the past, consuming natural resources was the main source of income for local people and farmers were often seen cut down trees.

By piloting a financial reform and establishing a mechanism of green credit and loan, Sanming has enabled farmers to mortgage their well-maintained forests to a bank to apply for loans and start their businesses.

In this way, the city has protected its forests and revitalized its economy, offering a new solution to using natural resources.

As the largest steel company in Fujian, Sangang Group based in Sanming has always adopted the strictest emission standards, which are stricter than those in the European Union, according to a local official.

Xie Jiaqin, director of the Sanming Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, added that many enterprises have invested in the city because of its superior ecological environment, which has become a golden “signboard” for the city.

While introducing enterprises in the primary, secondary and tertiary industries from outside, Sanming encourages them to develop new techniques and products by following a high-standard approach to preserve the city’s sound environment, rather than just bringing in production capacity.

Blessed with green ecology, Sanming has seen thriving low-carbon economy, green agriculture, forest and health industries. The wonderful story of Sanming coordinating ecological conservation and economic development continues.