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Gaozhou, a county-level city in Maoming, is the main production area for the Maoming Lychee National Modern Agricultural Industrial Park, and has a lychee plantation area of 550,000 mu (36,667 hectares).
The city currently raises 200,000 beehives as an "understory" industry to the lychee-growing. The annual output of lychee honey can exceed 10,000 metric tons, with the yearly output of honey products valued at 1 billion yuan ($152.72 million).
Beekeeping in Gaozhou, Maoming. [Photo/WeChat account: maofabu]
Lin Guangping from Gaozhou, who is more than 80 years old, has been keeping bees since childhood and now raises 500 boxes of bees. "Maoming has a pleasant climate and a good environment. Our honey is very popular, and beekeeping is also something we like to do all our lives," said Lin.
Gaozhou's good beekeeping environment also attracts farmers from beyond the city. Madam Wang from Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, comes to Gaozhou every March when lychee flowers burst into blossom.
The 80-plus-year-old Lin Guangping shows off the bees he keeps. [Photo/WeChat account: maofabu]
"Gaozhou lychee is famous throughout the country, so is lychee honey," said Wang. She has sold more than 5 tons of lychee honey this year, making more money than before.
Gaozhou has been promoting a development model integrating enterprises, cooperatives, specialized households, and farmers. Cooperatives regularly organize training sessions and specialized households participate in management, helping farmers improve their beekeeping skills.
E-commerce live-streaming activities have also been carried out in the city to promote online sales of lychee honey.
The Gaozhou Tianmimei Beekeeping Specialized Cooperative was established in May 2020, with lychee honey as its main product. "The net income in the past year was 20,000 to 30,000 yuan, and this year it is expected to increase," said Lin Changzhen, a member of the cooperative.
After years of development, Gaozhou has been extending its bee industrial chain, covering beekeeping, honey collecting, e-commerce, and featured tourism.
Relative policies, subsidies, and insurances have also been launched to standardize and ensure the development of the bee industry.