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Village in rural Xinjiang pursues yogurt industry to increase incomes by Wang Jinli ,July 23, 2020 Adjust font size:

At the workshop of the A’kumakani Yogurt Cooperative in Xia’erbuluke village of Hejing town in Hejing county, the workers were boiling milk, adding sugar, cooling the blend, adding Lactobacillus bacteria, mixing thoroughly, and incubating the mixture in strict accordance with the production process. Several women were filling tubs with finished yogurt. The cooperative has paved the way to prosperity for Xia’erbuluke’s residents.

Xiang Xiaolei, Xia’erbuluke’s first secretary and poverty reduction team leader, told A’kumakani members: “The yogurt must meet food hygiene standards. High-quality products will help us establish long-term relationships with our clients, which will make it possible for our cooperative to develop steadily.”

Xia’erbuluke village is located at the edge of southeast Hejing county’s urban area in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and has a permanent population of 3,263 people. Its less than 0.16 ha of agricultural land per person are mainly used for growing wheat and corn. It has been difficult for the villagers to increase their incomes and gain stable employment for years.

Hejing county’s human resources and social security office eventually deployed a poverty alleviation team led by Xiang to Xia’erbuluke. They proposed the creation of a yogurt cooperative for housewives and other unemployed people to work at.

The poverty reduction team conducted a detailed analysis of market demands in the area and determined that yogurt would be a good product to pursue. Consumers tend to love it, so the undertaking would have a lot of potential to help people increase their incomes.

The team joined the local village leadership in applying for funding from the central government for the purpose of developing and expanding village collective projects. They received the funding, and set up a yogurt cooperative comprising the villagers. A village premises covering a land area of 500 square meters was altered into a yogurt factory. Six of Xia’erbuluke’s residents invested capital and technology into the project and became shareholders. A local impoverished family and two low-income families that receive basic livelihood allowances also participated in the project.

Yogurt production requires safe, high-quality milk and careful adherence to various standards and quality control measures. The poverty alleviation team helped arrange a rigorous training program for A’kumakani’s members so they could become very familiar with every step of the production process. Also with the assistance of the team, the cooperative had its trademark registered.

Ku’erbanguli Rouzi is part of a Xia’erbuluke family that was impoverished until recently. She worked as a farmer and brought in little income. Ku’erbanguli later became a member of the A’kumakani Yogurt Cooperative when it was formed and completed its training program. She has been able to buy a refrigerator, television, electric car, and other items for her family with the money that she has earned at the organization.

“I signed up to become a member of the cooperative when it was established, and I have mastered yogurt production since then,” Ku’erbanguli explained while adhering stickers with the A’kumakani Yogurt Cooperative’s logo on them to finished tubs of yogurt. “I am happy that I can bring in stable income every month and take care of my family. I am working hard to make a better life for my family.”

The A’kumakani Yogurt Cooperative has been expanding lately. The poverty eradication team and the village officials had visited various markets and bazaars in the area and conducted market research at supermarkets and other stores in the towns of Hejing county. The collective currently produces sweetened yogurt, sugar-free yogurt, Greek yogurt, and yogurt with chopped peanuts. The products are popular with consumers and have been a success. At peak season, the cooperative produces 1,000 small tubs of yogurt and 700 large tubs per day, which results in about 4,300 yuan (US$602) of gross profit.

The A’kumakani Yogurt Cooperative purchases a total of 700 to 800 kg of fresh milk from more than 10 dairy farmers in Xia’erbuluke’s neighboring villages every day, which makes it possible for them to increase their incomes in a stable manner as well.

“Secretary Xiang has given our cooperative a lot of his attention, and his colleagues often come help us,” A’kumakani member Ai’shajiang Maimaiti mentioned with a smile. “We sell a lot of yogurt now. I completed my training and earn about 3,000 yuan (US$420) a month.”

Xiang Xiaolei elaborated on the poverty reduction efforts in Xia’erbuluke and stated: “Residents who used to be unemployed have been able to get jobs and have improved their entrepreneurial abilities and other skills. We have also worked with businesses in the area and invited agricultural experts and job training staff to teach people to make items such as clothing, gloves, and electronic components and have provided other types of instruction. These undertakings have helped to activate Xia’erbuluke’s impoverished residents’ intrinsic motivation for occupational and economic development. Next my team and the local village leadership will help the cooperative launch an e-commerce platform, which will make it possible for more people from the area to gain employment without having to leave the village.”




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