Maiwa yaks bring riches to Tibetan county

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 25, 2020
Adjust font size:
A display showing yak yogurt produced by Hongyuan Gengpan Cooperative of Farmers and Herdsmen. [Photo by Zheng Liang/]

The Maiwa yak on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau have become a surprising key in helping poverty alleviation, and even providing a source of riches, among the people of Hongyuan county in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture.

Hongyuan county is located on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, also known as "Roof of the World," in the northwestern part of Sichuan province. It is the only pure animal husbandry county in Aba, where the main inhabitants are ethnic Tibetans, and its unique natural conditions have nurtured a very peculiar species: the Maiwa yak.

However, due to limited grassland resources, coupled with the harsh natural environment and severe cold weather conditions, the potential risks for animal husbandry development are numerous. To solve this situation, in August 2016, with the support of the county government, locals began integrating 34 cooperatives in the county, which would later become the Hongyuan Gengpan Cooperative of Farmers and Herdsmen.

As the first enterprise solely established and owned by farmers and herdsmen on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, with a total investment of 130 million yuan, the cooperative uses raw and pure yak milk as well as modern food processing technologies and traditional Tibetan yogurt-making techniques to produce a range of yak dairy products, including yogurt, ice cream, and even cosmetics.

Now the cooperative, as a crown jewel of the nearby Yellow River's agriculture and animal husbandry capabilities, is relying on rural revitalization support systems to help deepen agricultural and rural reforms. The industry currently boasts a clear plan and layout that adheres to the ecologically green development of agriculture and animal husbandry, exploring and implementing new means for industrial poverty alleviation and development. So far, this model has benefited poor households in a total of 13 villages within the county and achieved positive results in promoting the high-quality development of agriculture and animal husbandry in the Yellow River basin.

A staffer introduces how they raise Maiwa yaks to at the Hongyuan Gengpan Cooperative of Farmers and Herdsmen in Hongyuan county, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sept. 21, 2020. [Photo by Zheng Liang/]

"Innovation, sharing, coordination, and green development are the key concepts of our cooperative,” said a cooperative staff member speaking to on Monday. The cooperative focuses on creating a clean, livestock-driven business, with the eventual aim of creating a national-level industrial agriculture and animal husbandry enterprise embodying the high standards, quality, and efficiency of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

The staff member said every yak is fitted with GPS so that the cooperative can track their movement. Farmers and herdsmen also receive insurance for the yaks that they raise. The cooperative has set strict enterprise product standards to ensure that consumers receive the safest plateau organic livestock goods, while these high-quality goods help increase the income for farmers and herdsmen.

A yak dairy production machine. [Photo by Zheng Liang/]

The Hongyuan Gengpan Cooperative of Farmers and Herdsmen has so far completed five production lines, including a range of yak meat, dairy products, yogurt, and yak milk cosmetics. Additionally, the team will begin creating yak milk ice cream using imported ice cream equipment that it imported this year. Once complete, it will be the only company in China to produce yak milk ice cream.

A peek at the yak dairy production workshop. [Photo by Zheng Liang/]

"The cooperative has formed a closed-loop model that begins with the collection of raw materials and runs through to processing and sales, spanning 36 villages in 11 townships throughout the county,” said the staff member, adding that this has helped “increase the income of more than 7,000 farmers and herdsmen, effectively helping 1,353 poor households to be included in the support scope of the cooperative. There are now dividends of 190 yuan for every person per year, and 2,000 yuan provided in subsidies to each sub-cooperative."

The e-commerce center of Hongyuan county. [Photo by Zheng Liang/]

In May 2018, the Hongyuan Gengpan Cooperative of Farmers and Herdsmen established a new company, Hongyuan Gengpan Agricultural and Livestock Product Development Co., Ltd., and launched an e-commerce platform. "Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the impact of logistics and other factors, the cooperative still managed to create an output value of 5 million yuan," the staff member revealed, saying that as the company has grown, it is improving its defenses against market risk and competition, building brands that directly connect cooperatives and households to the ever-changing big market, and helping farmers and herdsmen tap into the riches.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from