A local herdsmen walks on the road in front of his house in Edamenba Village of Kangding, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Sept. 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Sun Ruibo)
CHENGDU, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Genweng, 24, raises over 100 yaks. But she never thought that yak milk, instead of being used as their family's food, could be made into ice cream, much less sold to 20 provinces.
Genweng lives in a village in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Living at 3,500 meters above sea level, local people have been raising yaks and taking yak milk as their everyday food for generations.
Yet no one expected to make much money from yak milk.
"Yak milk produced in this region is very high in protein and can be processed into various products," said Zhang Rong, manager of a yak milk product company named Lanyi.
After years of experience in the cow milk industry, Zhang started his company in Ganzi to purchase yak milk from the herdsmen.
"People seldom see yak milk products in the market and may find it hard to accept the unique taste of it," Zhang said. "We managed to remove the distinctive taste and processed the milk into ice cream, cookies and soft drinks."
As the products are accepted by more consumers, the new industry is bringing more income to the herdsmen.
In 2018, when the company started purchasing yak milk from the local people, it brought an income of 460,000 yuan (about 65,000 U.S. dollars) to the whole village, an average increase of 5,200 yuan for each family.
"Before the milk station showed up, we could barely sell any yak milk products," said Gege, 58, who made over 20,000 yuan from yak milk in 2018.
The per capita income of Gege's family increased by nearly five times from 2014 to 2018.
The village has bought 370 yaks for impoverished families, each of which is expected to make 11,340 yuan of additional income every year.