How a town in China turned cow dung into pungent profits
Chen Kairan
For most herders living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, cow dung is a pungent problem.
But in Jiuzhi County, Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Pefecture, Western China's Qinghai Province, it smells like money.
Locals picking up cow dung.

Locals picking up cow dung.

With the organic ecological animal husbandry business continuing to grow, the production of cow dung is gradually increasing and they are all over the plateau.
But the emergence of organic fertilizer, the town of Sohurima has changed what could be a nuisance into an opportunity.

Turning cow dung into treasure

In April 2018, the local government used 2.4 million-yuan in poverty alleviation funding to build an organic fertilizer factory in the area. All of the town's four villages established its own cooperative to help register information and encourage herdsmen to collect cow dung. The cow dung is processed into organic fertilizers and sold. By the end of the year, the factory distributed profits as dividends to local low-income households. 
Organic fertilizer factory.

Organic fertilizer factory.

So, if you're a local low-income household, you can sell your bullpen's cow dung to the factory to get paid, and you can also get a profit dividend from the organic fertilizer plant at the end of the year.
There are currently over 1,000 people who have joined the system.
The fertilizer is mainly sold to other counties in the state of Guoluo to manage black soil land, as well as to some vegetable bases, said the Suohurima township Cai Baojie.

The business of cow dung

Herdsmen's cow dung records.

Herdsmen's cow dung records.

Since it started production in April last year, the manure factory has sold 4,000 tons of fertilizer, earning a profit of 2.2 million yuan (318,310 U.S. dollars). 
After factory operation expenses, the money is used to pay herders for the cow dung, as dividends for households and to the villages for their own cooperative operation costs.
Every low-income herder household can make about 2,000 yuan (289 U.S. dollars) from selling cow dung and get 2,400 yuan (347 U.S. dollars) in dividends. 

E-commerce is next step

Local e-commerce training.

Local e-commerce training.

Due to the rapid increase in income last year, orders are up this year. To increase production capacity, the government's invested over 10 million yuan (over 1.4 million U.S. dollars) to build a larger factory. 
And, extending the market outside Guoluo and developing e-commerce are also essential plans for the future.