Home>Media Center>News

In Ningxia, farmers turning cow dung into cash

Xinhua|Updated:May 18, 2022


Cow dung is turned into fertilizer at a factory in Xinglong township of Xiji county in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

YINCHUAN-Bai Wendong, a farmer in Xinglong township of Xiji county in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, has an account at a special "bank"-one that trades in cow dung, not cash.

Each time his cattle pen fills up with excrement, he takes it to the bank in exchange for cash or credit to buy organic fertilizers for his fields.

In addition to its use as a fertilizer, cow dung is widely used for cooking, heating, and even for medical purposes in places like India. Now, Chinese farmers are turning dung into profit, using it to improve the environment in green farming and increase incomes.

"I have five oxen, and they produce two motor tricycle loads' worth of dung a month. Some is used to fertilize my fields, but the oxen produced so much that it became a headache. It was smelly and dirty and took up space during the seasons when manure isn't needed," Bai said.

Since the cow dung bank was set up in Xinglong about two years ago, farmers like Bai have had access to a new and easy way of disposing of their surplus.

Last year, he used the fertilizer he got from the bank on his 5,300 square meters of cornfields.

"Organic fertilizer enriches and nourishes the soil. Last year, we suffered from a lack of rain, but my corn grew better than my neighbors' because I used organic fertilizers," he said.

Wang Hailong manages the bank together with a government-supported factory that produces organic fertilizers from dung collected from the farmers.

He and his friends started the project in August 2020 with 6 million yuan ($943,000). It now employs 19 staff members.

Wang collects cattle dung from farmers in surrounding villages, paying them 40 yuan per cubic meter in cash. The farmers can also exchange the dung directly for fertilizer.

"The cattle breeding industry here is expanding very quickly. Xinglong has 55,000 head of cattle and 5,200 cattle-raising households, so dung has become a problem," Wang said.

"Some years ago, we were taught by government experts how to turn dung into fertilizer."

The bank not only seeks to make profits, but also to help increase the incomes of some farmers who have only recently been lifted out of poverty.

With a permanent dung reserve of 60,000 cubic meters, Wang's company also sells its products locally and in neighboring Shaanxi province, making profits of about 1 million yuan a year.

Wang Zhiyu, Xinglong's Party chief, said that the bank is an innovative way of developing green farming and of raising the living standards of farmers.

"It helps with crop and cattle farming, contributes to organic farming by reducing the use of chemical fertilizers, cuts pollution and improves the rural environment," he said.