Course:FRST370/Projects/Under-forest Chicken in Taizishan National Forest Park, Hubei Province, China
The under-forest economy mainly refers to the forestry planting, breeding, collection and forest tourism industries that are developed on the basis of forest resources and forest ecological environment. The development of the under-forest economy is conducive to farmers making full use of forest land and scientifically managing forest land. The under-forest economy has become the main way to transform the forestry economic growth mode and increase the farmers' economic income. And it is one of the key development industries of the state-owned forest farm in Taizishan, Hubei Province. Nowadays, the development pattern of “one body and two wings” (under-forest and the seedling industries as two wings and tourism industry as the main body) has been formed. Based on the references and interviews obtained in the local research, this case study analyzes the basic situation of the local under-forest economy, explores the economic development of the under-forest in Taizishan, and proposes corresponding policy recommendations based on its existing problems to promoting the development of the local under-forest economy industry.
- Situation and Institution of Taizishan National Forest Park
Hubei Taizishan National Forest Park is located in Jingshan County, Jingmen City, Hubei Province, China, where is the junction of Jianghan Plain and Dahong Mountain. There are 204 genera of 138 families in the plant species. The forest resources are mainly fir, Masson pine, foreign pine and cypress. The area is 7,930 hectares, forest coverage rate is 85% and the standing timber accumulates 457,000 cubic meters. Hubei Taizishan National Forest Park has four forest farms, hospitals, schools and other 15 institutions and 5 factories which are pharmaceutical factory, wood industry company, machinery factory, tourism company, seedlings and flowers company. It was assessed as a provincial forest park in 2001 and as national forest park in 2002. In 2011, it was awarded the title of “National Ecological Civilization Education Base”.
- The Development History of Taizishan National Forest Park
Taizishan was called state-run Taizishan forest farm at first. In November 15, 1957, it was set up at the Shilong Reservoir Management Office of the former Jingzhou area. In March 1958, the farm Department was moved to Qinjiaxiang of Luoqiao Xiannv group in Shilong District of Jingshan County. In November of the same year, the state-owned Taizishan Forest Farm was incorporated into the Wusan People's Commune of Jingshan County. In April 1959, the state-run Taizishan Forest Farm was restored. And it was renamed the State-owned Taizishan Forest Farm Management Office in August 1962. In June 1963, it was transferred to the provincial forestry department. In October of the same year, the state-run Taizishan Forest Farm Management Office was renamed Hubei Taizishan Forest Farm Administration. In May 1971, the Forest Management Bureau was placed under the jurisdiction of the Hubei Production and Construction Corps of the Wuhan Military Region; after the withdrawal of the Construction Corps in 1972, the leader of it was the Hubei Provincial Agriculture and Forestry Bureau. It was under the jurisdiction of the Hubei Provincial Forestry Bureau in 1973 and has not changed anymore. All the units are independent legal persons, operate independently and are responsible for their own profits and losses.
- The Importance of Under-forest Chicken Industry for Taizishan National Park
The under-forest economy mainly refers to the forestry planting, breeding, collection and forest tourism industries that are developed on the basis of forest resources and forest ecological environment. It is a new thing emerging in the field of agricultural production with the continuous deepening of the reform of China's collective forest rights system and the contracting of collective forest land to households. Nowadays, the under-forest economy has become the main way to transform the forestry economic growth mode, expand the rural economic space and increase the farmers' economic income. Under-forest economic is one of the key industries in Taizishan forest farm. On the basis of making full use of the local excellent resource conditions and convenient transportation, the forest farms vigorously encourage and promote the development of the under-forest economy in order to develop the economy, increase income, solve staffing problems and improve the living standards of the forest farmers. The development of forest foods has focused on creating four models of “native pigs, under-forest chickens, organic vegetables and ecological fish”, which have formed considerable scale and benefits. At present, the local development has formed a development pattern of “one body and two wings” with forest economy and seedling industry as the promotion and forest tourism as the main body. Under-forest economy has become one of the important pillar industries in this region and has played a role in the development of local economy and society.
- The Introduction of Contractual Management Right
The contractual management right is the right contracted by the contractor (individual or unit) to use and get profits from collective-owned or state-owned land, forests, mountains, grasslands, wasteland and tidal flats because of planting, forestry, animal husbandry, fishery production or other production and operation projects. The contractual management right has a certain period of time. According to Articles 14 and 15 of the Land Administration Law, if members of the collective economic organization of farmers who contract the land of this organization for planting, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery production, and the term shall be 30 years.
- Actual Application in Taizishan National Forest Park
In order to further understand the development of the under-forest economy the Taizishan Forest Farm, I once conducted an interview with a local chicken farmer in the forest farm. He ran his under-forest chicken farm for about 5-6 years. The contracted area is close to 10 mu, and more than 10,000 chickens are cultured. During the interview, I learned that the farmer's under-forest land is mainly the land owned by unit, but the land around their houses is privately owned. At the same time, he also mentioned that to contract the under-forest land in farming area for operation, it is necessary for them to pay 40 yuan as rent for one mu of land to the local forestry bureau. Therefore, his land rent for contracted operation is about 400 yuan.
- Organization Form of Under-forest Economy
The economic management mode of under-forest refers the organization and management form of the under-forest economy. At present, China's under-forest economic management model can be summarized into two categories, one is the company model, and the other is the association/cooperative model. The main form of the company model is the “company + base + farmer”. This model is usually led by agricultural companies who have advanced technology and strong capital. The role of the base is used to concentrate the scattered farmers. Finally, the farmers are combined with the company in the form of contracting. The production and operation mode of “company + base + farmer” enables farmers to achieve stable agricultural production. On the one hand, it has changed the production mode of farmers who have been relying on weather for a long time, which greatly reduced the risk of farmers’ production and guaranteed the income of them. On the other hand, concentrating the original scattered farmers will help to expand production scale, reduce production costs, and achieve industrialization.
- The Development Model in Taizishan Forest Park
Nowadays, one of the models for the development of under-forest economy in the Taizishan Forest Farm is the model of “company + base + farmer”. The professional company provides high quality seeds (raw materials), technology, epidemic prevention and product recycling, and farmers provide forest land and labor. This model has stable and reliable income, which is conducive to promoting the development and expansion of the economic scale of under-forest. It is the direction and leading management model of under-forest economic development.
The land rent had mentioned is a small portion of the cost of under-forest operations. In addition, the farmer said that chicken cub, feed and labor are also part of the operating costs. Through interviews, we learned that the cost of feed is relatively fixed and is about 2.5 yuan per kilogram. It is in a stable level every year. The different prices of chicken cubs every year lead to the annual cost varies. So, the market fluctuates relatively. And it is also susceptible for chickens to get epidemic diseases. The majority of labor cost is the workers' wages. The chicken farm has employed two workers, but both of them are farm owner's relatives. Consider the relationship between each other, there are no fixed wages. They were paid on the basic of current economic situation.
When it comes to sales, the farmer said that it is mainly for external sales. Farmers need to find consumers by themselves, then discuss a suitable price for wholesale and sale. Therefore, sale is a difficult point of under-forest economy. At the same time, the farmer said that the annual profit of the under-forest chicken farms is different. This year, the chicken market has not yet reached the best time, but they have already realized the profit of 100,000 yuan. But last year, he owned about 4,000 chickens, but due to hard market conditions and poor sales, not only did he earned nothing but also lost more than 100,000 yuan.
In conclusion, the owner of farm, hired workers, cub suppliers and feed suppliers are all affected stakeholders.
Interested Outside Stakeholders
Relative cooperation and ministry of forestry can be considered as interested stakeholders.
Taizishan Forest Farm has a special cooperative for under-forest farming, Taiyi Cooperative. The farmer we interviewed is a member of it. There is no need for farmers to pay membership fees. About 10 large-scale under-forest breeding households have joined the cooperative. The cooperative provided technical training for raising chickens and taking medicine. There have also been some holiday condolences to members during the holiday. However, when asked whether the cooperative provided help for farmers to sell their agricultural products, the farmer said that no sales support was available for members. It can be seen that the local under-forest farming has not developed particularly mature and has not formed a scale operation.
Sale is the biggest problem for chicken farm. The farmer believes that the market information of under-forest is not well flowed, and the demand and supply of agricultural products cannot form a good correspondence. There is no market for farmers, and it is not clear for them to know how much demand is in the market. So, sales are difficult. For the demand side, it is also not easy for consumers to find suitable farmers who can provide under-forest products, which is not conducive to the development of under-forest farming. Therefore, to promote the development of the local under-forest economy, we should improve market information by strengthen the construction of cooperatives and provide farmers a platform with centralized sales. At the same time, ministry of forestry can increase subsidies for under-forest planting and breeding, and encourage forest workers to engage in. The development of under-forest economy can also promote the employment of forest farm personnel and increase employees' income.
- To Form a Brand and Expand the Market
The first goal of under-forest chicken in Taizishan is to form a brand and expand the market. At present, although the forest area is consciously aiming to increase income through the development of under-forest economy, the forest farmers in the forest area are not strong in brand awareness, lack relevant brand knowledge, and the enthusiasm and autonomy of building their own local brand are not high, which made it difficult for their products to form a brand effect, which is not conducive to the development of the market.
- To Promote Centralized Production and Form Economies of Scale
The second goal is to promote centralized production and form economies of scale. The local under-forest economic industry in Taizishan Forest Farm is still in its infancy, and the number of large-scale production farms is small, mainly for individual operation. In addition, in terms of the number of products produced, except for a very small number of large farms whose annual output can reach more than 10,000, and the output of other self-employed farms is not very optimistic. The advantage of the under-forest economy is the scale output efficiency. But the local under-forest economy is still in the initial stage, it has not been formed into a considerable situation. If there is no continuous capital injection in the later period, the local under-forest economic scale will not be further expanded, and it will be difficult to form the scale benefits.
- To Increase the Added Value and Enrich the Product Range
The third goal is to increase the added value and enrich the product range. The local under-forest economic products in the forest farm are mainly primary products, rarely involved in the deep processing industry, and the added value of the products is low. They only focus on the development of primary products, lack the effort of in-depth development. Homogeneity in products is serious, and it is difficult to form features. The quality of forestry farmers is uneven. In terms of management, most operators follow traditional management and production methods. Those are backward in science and technology, which seriously affects the effective use of under-forest products, the cultivation of excellent varieties and the healthy development of under-forest. In addition, although emphasis is placed on the development of both under-forest planting and farming, the latter one (chicken, pig) still dominates the local economic industry of under-forest, and the business model and variety are relatively simple.
- A Contradiction Between Enterprise and Forest Farm Interests
There is a contradiction between enterprise and forest farm interests. The development of the under-forest economy is conducive to solving the employment of forest farmers and increasing the income of forest farms and employees. This has become a consensus in the local area. However, due to the lack of sufficient funds and scientific management techniques, the forest farm is unable to develop the forest economy in the region alone, so it needs the participation of social capital such as enterprises. As an economic entity, the enterprise takes profit maximization as its goal. Enterprises come to the local to do the economic-related industries under the forest but pay more attention on local resources and the benefits they can bring to the enterprise. The local people do not want to hand over the resources, they just want to use the power of the enterprise to help the local farmers to get rich. There is a contradiction between the two, and to some extent, it also restricts the development of the local under-forest economy.
- Scattered Cooperative Organizations
Cooperative organizations are scattered, and it is difficult to play a full role. The local people organized the Jingshan Taiyi Cooperative. However, this cooperative organization is relatively loosely managed, and the efficiency of internal management is not high enough to play a full role. In interviews with local farmers engaged in under-forest chicken farming, we learned that the cooperative provides relevant training and assistance to farmers at regular intervals, but the sales channels provided cannot meet the demand for local product sales. It is mainly relying on farmers' own sources to find customers, which is not conducive to the formation of local under-forest brands and sales of products.
- The Lack of Economic Support Policy System from Government
It lacks the perfect forest financial and economic support policy system. The development of the forest economy and the expansion of production scale require a certain amount of capital investment. For forest farmers, the lack of funds is an important factor that restricts their investment in the under-forest economy and large-scale production. Although this year the Department of Forestry in Hubei Province and the Taizishan Forest Management Bureau have also issued a series of policies to support the forest economy, but they are really less targeted, and some policies have not been implemented. And the subsidies are relatively insufficient, so there is no obvious support and incentive for farmers.
- Planning Scientifically to Promote the Steady Development of the under-forest Economy
At present, the economic operation of the under-forest farm has not yet established a systematic development pattern. The forest land of under-forest economy is characterized by fragmentation. Not only needs farm according to the development plan of the Forestry Department, but also combined with the actual situation of the forest farm. It should fully investigate and extensively solicit opinions and suggestions from farmers, scientifically and rationally plan the goals of economic development of under-forest, and actively explore suitable farming and planting way for the field to expand the comprehensive benefits of under-forest economy.
- Improving the Organization Level of Employees and Increasing the Construction of Social Service System in Forest Farms
The construction of the socialized service system of the Taizishan Forest Farm is lagging behind. The staff organization level of the under-forest is low. The forest farm cannot meet the needs of its existing socialized services. The high degree organization of produce and sales has not yet formed. All farms use the family as the basic production and operation unit to develop the under-forest economy, which is difficult to form a considerable scale. Farmers' ability to resist risks is weak, and lack of production funds and difficult to loans. Particularly, the farms are mainly based on the production of primary products, lacking deep process and high value-added production.
- Relevant Institutions Can Formulate and Improve the Financial Support Policy System to Support the Economic Development of Under-forest
Through financial support policies to promote the capital investment of under-forest economy can realize financial support of leading enterprises and promote the development of the organization form of “farmers + leading enterprises”. In addition, set up special investment funds, and support the forestry professional cooperation organizations to carry out the infrastructure construction of the forest breeding demonstration base can also guide social funds to invest in under-forest economy. At present, the forest farm has certain subsidies for the development of the contracted land for farmers, but compared with the land fee, the amount is relatively small. Increasing the financial subsidy will help improve the economic efficiency of the farmers and the ability to withstand risks.
- Strengthening Scientific and Technological Support and Cooperating with University.
The under-forest economy is an emerging industry developed on the basis of agroforestry management. Under-forest management has high requirements for new technologies and new varieties. At present, most of the under-forest growers and farmers still use traditional farming methods, and the degree of production standardization is low, resulting in high cost of breeding and poor efficiency. And insufficient management technology also leads to unguaranteed product yield and quality, which lack of market competitiveness. It is necessary to increase cooperation with science and technology colleges, combine the natural conditions of under-forest farms, strengthen the research and deep processing of forest products, promote the planting and breeding techniques suitable for forestry, and improve product quality finally.
- Strengthening Publicity and Training, and Actively Guide Farmers to Change Their Business Ideas
The quality of forest farm staff is uneven. The under-forest operation with family as the production unit lacks market awareness, and the market development is insufficient. Most of them are scattered sales. It is necessary to widely publicize the important position and role of under-forest economy at this stage, provide comprehensive technical services and technical training, guide the transformation of farmers' business ideas, improve their management capabilities, and promote industrial upgrading.
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