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Production of Guangxi Luffa heading to the next level

"At present, the Luffas (or loofahs) of Dahua county are manufactured into a juice that can be used for skincare products, shampoo, body wash and other similar products. It is sold to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton, Hainan and other places. It is even sold abroad to Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, Spain and other foreign markets," says the main agent for 'Time's beauty' in the Dahua Yao autonomous county in Hezhou, Mr. Wei Cuihua.

The 'Compendium of Medical Herbs', a classic work compiled in 1596, states that 'luffa juice has the merit of stimulating the blood flow and menstrual flow. Rinsing the face with the juice removes dirt and grease to a great extent.' In modern times, medical science has made clear through research that pure, natural luffa juice has a high amount of active components. It can increase the blood circulation, alleviate fever and moisturise the skin. It gives nutrients to the skin and hydrates, which helps to prevent wrinkles. Grasping the unique capabilities of luffa juice and the vast development prospects, Dahua county makes the small luffa into a big business.

On December 3, in a standardised cultivation demonstration orchard, in a village in Dahua county, the luffas hang in rows from a steel framework. In the mild winter climate of the South, some luffas are starting to show light yellow flowers and some luffas are growing long gourd-like fruits. They give of a sweet scent. In the breeding greenhouse of the demonstration orchard, the farmers plough the ground with a small tractor. 

The special assisting cadre for Dahua, Mr. Wei, explains that in the spring of 2015, a young farmer named Wei Xinkuan brought back a few luffa varieties from South Korea. He started the development of a luffa juice industry and then created the Natural Luffa Cultivation Professional Cooperative. They combined the construction of the Hongshuihe Modern Agriculture Demonstration Zone with an active adjustment production setup. With that, they made the luffa juice into a leading demonstrative production. They use 83 hectares of soil in the demonstration zone and adopt a 'company+cultivation ground+farmers' model to create the Luffa Juice Cultivation Demonstration Orchard. At the same time, they attract companies, economists and young entrepreneurial experts to develop the cultivation of luffa on a large scale over more than 66 hectares in three villages in Dahua county. 

In the spring this year, the water conservancy department of Dahua invested in highly efficient, water-saving irrigation engineering projects. With the irrigation, a unified water and fertiliser system is realised for the luffas. At the same time, experts of the Guangxi Agricultural Science Institute are engaged for the long term to follow, assist and guide the establishment of a standardised breeding system and operations for a unified breeding, transplantation, greenhouses, suspension, field and water-fertiliser management. A whole set of tests was used to determine the best method to work with the soil - weeds were eradicated with the use of a black membrane and a treatment technique was given for a green and ecologic prevention of diseases and insects. In summary, the cultivation is fully integrated, mechanised, green and ecological.

In order to succeed in the plan of launching a series of products with a cosmetics brand, Wei Xinkuan founded the Guangxi Dahua Time's Beauty Cosmetics and started cooperation with the related science and research departments of German and French companies. He used luffa juice to research and create the 'Time's Beauty' skincare products, shampoo, body wash and other pure and ecological products.

At present, the luffa juice production industry in Dahua has become an operational development structure that generates an income that can reduce unemployment and alleviate poverty in the region. 

There are 15,000 trunks of the luffa per hectare and three crops are cultivated every year. From one cultivation cycle, about 0.75 kg of pure luffa juice can be gained from one trunk. The company keeps the price low at 12 RMB per kg, which gives a value of 405,000 RMB per hectare. Moreover, according to the explanation of Wei Xinkuan, the demonstration cultivation base plans to employ 200 people every year. This year, a labour cost of 3.27 million RMB is already foreseen. One of the villagers, Mr. Wei Yuelan, says that "I rent out 0.26 hectares of land, which gives a yearly income of around 3000 RMB. I go work at the demonstration base for a monthly wage of around 2000 RMB. If I work a lot, I can earn a wage of over 3000 RMB."

Mr. Wei Xinkuan states that in 2017, he will provide seeds, fertiliser and pesticide for free to the impoverished villagers as a production resource. He will also provide free technical guidance and help to expand the luffa juice cultivation beyond 1333 hectares. This will allow even more people to make an end to poverty. 

At the same time, Dahua county also directly funds the integration of agricultural production and the construction of production base infrastructure in order to propel the luffa production industry forward with an even faster development.

Source of the information:

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