|Across China: Finding fortune via the snail trail|
//english.dbw.cn 2018-04-16 10:25:17
"My little girls have a good appetite for vegetables," Cong Gang, an official in Xinhong village in Suqian, east China's Jiangsu province, wrote a WeChat Moment post.
Cong was not talking about his daughters but his chubby jade snails, which can be used for food, medicine and cosmetics. He runs both an online and offline businesses selling frozen snails.
Cong said he had seen many young people in his village going to cities for work, leaving the village cottages empty.
"My wife and I found demand for snails on the Internet by chance, and it came to me that the vacant rooms could be used as snail farms. We then decided to start the business."
Cong and his wife renovated a 10-square meter storeroom into a snail farm in October 2016. However, their first attempts at breeding failed.
"My wife was always a staunch supporter of me all through those setbacks, always encouraging me to go ahead," Cong said.
After months of trial and error, the couple's snail farm finally succeeded in early 2017.
Cong said his success was inseparable from the Communist Party organization's support. When it turned cold, the Party secretary of the village found a stove for Cong to make sure that the vegetables for snails would not be spoiled by the freezing temperature.
Comparing himself to the wheels, he said the Party acted like an engine.
To help more people get rid of poverty and increase income, Cong applied to be vice Party secretary of the village and was elected in August.
Two months later, about one year after starting the business, Cong invited five villagers as his partners and employed more than 10 people in his snail farm, which now covers 500 square meters, producing over 750 kg snails each month, with monthly sales over 100,000 yuan (about 16,000 U.S. dollars).
The new post came with new work and new responsibilities, as well as problems.
One time, one of his workers used moldy fodder to feed the snails, causing the deaths of a large number, resulting in a direct economic loss of over 20,000 yuan.
Cong shouldered the responsibility.
"He was rookie, and I should have taught him more carefully, step by step. I don't want to pass the buck," Cong said.
Cong registered a company for the snail farm and named it "Zhu Meng," which translates as "dream building."
Through his business, he teaches villagers snail breeding skills. He also buys snails from other village farms to lower their risk.
"I grew up in this village, and I am only too proud that I can do something to help my villagers live a better life," he said.
Cong said he was like a snail himself, never giving up, always moving forward -- slow as he may be, every step brings him closer to his dream.
Author： Source：xinhua Editor：Yang Fan