Li Hongqing is a honeybeekeeper in Raohe Countyalong the Ussuri Riverin northern China’s Heilongjiang province. The frosty winter in Raohe makes the county an ideal place for black bees to thrive. But until a few years ago, beekeeping wasn’t a promising business;locals only eked out a living with their parcels of barren land and a few dozen beehives.
“I earned a living through farming in the past,but ever since I was diagnosed with ONFH (Osteonecrosis of femoral head), I couldn’t do heavy work any more. I learned from others that keeping black bees would be profitable without too much investment, so I took the plunge and bought some bees,” said Li Hongqing.
But the plan didn’t work out well and Li lost a lot of money because he didn’t know much about bee-keeping. Although Raohe county has a long history of beekeeping, locals only keep bees their own way which is difficult to scale up.
Becoming aware of the problem, the local government has come to tackle the issue by providing both training on beekeeping know-how and access to e-commerce to sell their black bee honey online.
“I went through tough years in the beginning,but I am making money now.It's not a business which can be accomplished by a person alone, it needs to be a whole industry chain where all can join. Only in this way can we do marketing in a more professional way. I am now trying my best to help people around me to earn a better living,” Said Li Hongqing.
Raohe used to be a remote poverty-stricken county on China’s northern border, but things are improving steadily and it is expected to eradicate poverty by the end of 2018.
(Produced by "Aspire–Living Stories" team of China.org.cn)