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Greenhouses produce steady income for Chinese villagers

With seven greenhouses producing fruit and vegetables, Gao Houfeng no longer worries about food. Gao and his family moved to Liuhu town, Yumen city, Gansu province, from their hometown in Huining in 1998, seeking a better area with irrigated land to grow crops to make a living. "The Huining region was too arid to grow crops. We couldn't even get enough food to eat," the 50-year-old said.

Despite irrigated agricultural land, Liuhu was rather desolate in the 1990s. As one of the first batch of 80 people to move there, Gao built a house with materials offered by the local government, including steel beams, bamboo poles and straw. His family was also offered a small piece of land-less than 667 square meters per capita-to grow wheat in front of the house.

Residents had to go to other towns to buy rice, noodles and vegetables, which required a round-trip walk of up to five hours, Gao said. Life has become better since 2013, when the town started to grow plants in environmentally controlled regions through greenhouse farming.

"At the beginning, we built ordinary greenhouses. The government provided steel frames, plastic film, technical guidance and greenhouse construction for free. I only spent some 6,000 yuan ($860) building six 80-meter greenhouses to grow tomatoes, watermelons and peppers," said Gao, who is also deputy secretary of the Party branch in Fumin village.

"Surprisingly, I had a good harvest that year and the quality of life immediately improved. My success encouraged many others to do the same and learn to operate greenhouses."


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