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Beekeepers use traditional transportation method across river to run business in Yunnan
9/14/2020




A couple living along the Nujiang river in southwest China's Yunnan Province is using the traditional means of transportation of zip-lining in the region to run their beekeeping business, which has helped them get out of poverty.
For many generations, villagers such as Yu Jinqiang and Yu Chunmei, a couple from a local mountainous village along the Nujiang river, have used makeshift ziplines to crisscross its banks. It was the only way of transportation for the residents of the relatively isolated area to cross over the violent rapids and jagged rocks of the river, also known as the Salween River outside China.
But as the new modern China of high-speed trains, highways and many other major constructions continue to take over across the country, most of the zip-lines have quickly started disappearing, making way for bridges and roads.
However, when the beekeeping couple was looking for a new site to set up their hives in the Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve in the deep Nujiang Canyon, their knowledge and expertise in the traditional mode of transportation came in handy.
They had found a suitable spot close to the border between Yunnan Province and Tibet Autonomous Region. Located on a gentle slope, it could hold over a hundred of hives. However, it was not easily accessible and they needed to find a way to transport the ready-to-harvest hives across the river.
That's when the couple resorted back to their roots and paid to build a zipline across the river, which was completed in a week with the help of the other villagers.
"Zip-lining used to be our main means of transportation when there were no road. Now we are using this same means of transportation to lead us out of poverty. After the completion of the zipline, we tried to pull the hives across the river with rope and pulley, but we after 30 boxes, we had blisters on our hands and we were sore. The following day, I came up with another idea - to use a motorcycle to pull the hive, which has proven to be much effective and easier," said Yu Jinqiang.
The pulling gear, composed of a motorcycle and a pulley, has also helped the couple increase the amount of hives they can transport across the river. In addition, the new improved road infrastructures have facilitated the transportation of their honey harvest to nearby towns, helping them increase their sales and revenues.
"Now it is very convenient to go to the town. The road used to be narrow and circuitous, now it has become flat and more direct. We can arrive in less than an hour," said Yu Chunmei.
The Yu couple said that local villagers, including them, received settlement buildings in the town from the local government. Some of the villagers found jobs in the town and lived there, while others continue to beekeep or farm in the canyon.
With hard work, determination and using their expertise in creative ways, the Yu couple were able to get rid of poverty and have established a beekeeping cooperative in 2019. This September, the cooperative paid 220,000 yuan (about 32,000 U.S. dollars) of dividends to its members.

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