High altitude, high earnings in Chinese mountain village

 Early in the morning, farmers in Yeqiao, a mountain village in Jingning She Autonomous County are busy packing up fresh tomatoes.

 Early in the morning, farmers in Yeqiao, a mountain village in Jingning She Autonomous County, east China's Zhejiang Province, are busy packing up fresh tomatoes, green beans and chili from an alpine vegetable planting base.

   Within five hours, the organic produce will be turned into savory dishes on the tables of big cities via cold-chain transportation.

   Of Jingning's 136 villages, each tucked away in lush hills, 96 are located at an elevation of over 600 meters. Thanks to the county's more than 7,300 hectares of non-polluted arable land and 100,000 hectares of forest, local produce is of high quality but was mainly consumed locally due to the lack of large-scale plantation. Jingning has therefore been mired in abject poverty.

   The local government established the brand "Jingning 600" several years ago, hoping to marshal resources to help promote sales of local produce.

   In Daji, the township with an average altitude of 1,000 meters, cane shoots have become a profitable product. "Due to the high altitude and large temperature difference between night and day, cane shoots grown in Daji are of high quality and can even be eaten raw, and can be sold at a price several times higher than those grown on plains," said Liu Haihua, Daji's Party secretary.

   "The per hectare output value of cane shoots has exceeded 120,000 yuan (about 17,184 U.S. dollars), which alone can bring an annual income of 40 million yuan to the village, and the average annual income of locals reached 28,350 yuan in 2019," said Liu.

   "I established a farm with four fellow villagers in 2018 and joined the brand 'Jingning 600,' and we've never been worried about the sales of our vegetables," said Xia Yiming, co-founder of Tianma Farm. "Our harvest season is later than other farms due to the high altitude, so our products can always be sold at good prices."

   "By highlighting the ecological value of our products, we have established a good brand and lowered the marketing costs of farmers," said Chen Zhong, Party secretary of Jingning County.

   According to data from the county's agricultural authorities, the accumulated sales of "Jingning 600" products have hit 1.53 billion yuan and have helped many local residents escape poverty. 

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