GUIYANG, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Instead of spraying pesticides in his field, Yang Zhuolin, a 50-year-old farmer, uses pest-killing lamps to prevent his newly sown rice from being damaged.
"The lamps, which can be moved easily from place to place, bring about a striking effect," said Yang, who lives in Taiyuan, a remote village in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China's Guizhou Province.
Yang used to be a migrant worker, making a living by working on urban construction projects. He only earned around 2,000 yuan (about 286 U.S. dollars) per month.
He returned to his hometown 10 years ago in a bid to take care of his family, investing his savings in a traditional Chinese medicine venture. However, he ultimately failed due to his inexperience.
About five years ago, Yang decided to plant colored rice, an old species that had been grown by local farmers but was later widely abandoned due to the low yield. This choice led the farmer to a brand-new life.
"When something is rare, it becomes precious," said Yang, adding that it is one of the secrets to his success today.
He grows about 1.3 hectares of colored rice, including black rice, purple rice, red rice and yellow rice.
"The old colored rice is now rare. Compared to ordinary rice, colored rice contains less starch and more anthocyanidins and tastes good," said Yang, adding that he can harvest around 5,000 kg of colored rice and earn more than 100,000 yuan every year.
High quality is another secret to Yang's booming colored rice business.
"I have never used pesticides and fertilizers since I planted the rice," Yang said. He raises ducks and fish in the fields to eat the pests, forming a mini-ecosystem, and also purchased pest-killing lamps this year, to ensure the rice's quality and keep his products pesticide-free.
"High quality is a hook for customers and helps me establish a stable relationship with them," Yang added.
Apart from a scarcity of colored rice in the market and the good quality, Yang also takes advantage of online social media platforms for marketing.
He downloaded several apps on his cellphone such as WeChat and Douyin, also known as TikTok, sharing videos and pictures of his rice, which quickly grew in popularity.
"Those platforms can display my products directly to online shoppers. More than half of the colored rice sales were completed online over the past three years," Yang said.
In order to protect against the unpredictability of agricultural yields, Yang also raises cattle and grows forage grass. He said his annual income totals more than 200,000 yuan.
"Diversification in agriculture can also lead to success," said Yang, adding that farmers can achieve a comfortable life through wisdom and perseverance. Enditem