My name is Chen Wanghui. I was married at 20 in Maoshui Village, Xiaojin County at the foot of Jiajin Mountain in Sichuan Province. Due to the cold on the plateau, villagers lived off a diet of potatoes, peas and broad beans. These crops were often sabotaged by nearby wild animals, leaving Xiaojin County mired in poverty with little income.
In 2010, I was elected director in charge of poverty alleviation for the village. One day I noticed a lone rose in a field, standing erect, complete untouched by wild boar. That got me thinking: How about planting roses to shake off poverty?
I began researching the planting and marketing of roses. In 2012, I introduced roses from eight provinces and through repeated experimentation, determined the proper rose. In 2013, I bought rose seedlings with my savings and gave them out free to villagers.
Is it possible to make roses into money? To deter villagers’ worries, I was in charge of establishing rose cooperatives and I went door to door signing purchase and sales contracts with them in 2014. Reassured, the villagers eventually started planting and managing their roses with great care.
We had a bumper harvest in 2016. A 78-year-old lady living with her disabled son clutched my hands saying “thank you!” after receiving her rose sales cash.
I also led villagers to build a standardized manufacturing complex and developed the model: cooperative+base+villagers+market.
In 2019, Xiaojin County shook off poverty followed by the rest of the villages. Through roses, Maoshui Village will one day go global!
(Illustrations by You Shan; story translated by Yang Mengzhuo)