Cultivating melons in the humid and warm climate of the southern region of Guangxi has allowed fifty families of four to make 18,000 yuan a year (i.e. 2,380 euro).
Up to two years ago, the head of the families from Helv who now cultivate melons, were forced to leave their young children with their relatives and illegally emigrate to the big cities in search of work.
In 2016, however, their fortunes changed when the Government decided to include that village in its poverty reduction program and subsidize agricultural enterprises to employ villagers without resources.
Mrs. Liao, an elderly woman that belongs to the Zhuang ethnic group and now works in a greenhouse said that she used to have to leave the village to look for any kind of work to survive, but that she now works a total of eight hours a day, near her house, and in a relaxed way.
Her work helps the company, which has a land area of 15.6 hectares, generate an annual production of 500 tons of melons, half of which are exported to Vietnam and the other half of which are sold in the provinces close at nearly 8-9 yuan (1-1.20 euro) per kilo.
Another agricultural company, Haisheng, shares the same objective of reducing poverty in the area. This company, which is located a few kilometers away from the other company, is dedicated to the production of a variety of tangerines and has a better infrastructure and more developed business model than the first company.
It uses automated collection systems, GPS to optimize the available space, drones from the Chinese giant Alibaba to make maps of the growing area, and intelligent equipment to measure environmental conditions, among other technologies, in its production chain.
This automation only leaves space and resources to hire a hundred farmers permanently and make temporary hirings at harvest time, depending on the production, said the company's deputy director, Shi Jianfeng.
The company sells some of its fruit in China and allocates another part for the production of juices, preserves, and flavored wine. 90% of these processed products are exported to foreign partners, such as Pepsi, Danone, Frigo, Tropicana, Granini, or Coca-Cola.
Shi said that the good performance of the business would allow them to recover next year their initial investment of 40 million yuan (5.20 million euro), which they disbursed in 2016 when the project started in the fields of Guangxi.