Facebook Twitter Gplus LinkedIn YouTube Google Maps E-mail RSS

17 September 2011

Chinese village bites into snake business

Residents stand next to cobras at a snake farm in Zisiqiao village, Zhejiang Province.

This sleepy village nestled in the heart of vast farmland in China's eastern Zhejiang province hides a deadly secret.

A step into the homes of any of the farming families here brings visitors eye-to-eye with thousands of some of the world's most feared creatures - snakes, many of them poisonous.
Cobras, vipers and pythons are everywhere in Zisiqiao, aptly known as the snake village, where the reptiles are deliberately raised for use as food and in traditional medicine, bringing in millions of dollars to a village that otherwise would rely solely on farming.

"As the number one snake village in China, it's impossible for us to raise only one kind of snake," said Yang Hongchang, the 60-year-old farmer who introduced snake breeding to the village decades ago.
"We are researching many kinds of snakes and the methods of breeding them."
In 1985, Yang started selling snakes he caught around the area to animal vendors. He soon began to worry that the wild snakes would run out and thus began researching on how to breed snakes at home.
Within three years, he had made a fortune - and many other villagers decided to emulate his success.
Today, more than three million snakes are bred in the village every year by the 160 farming families.
Snakes are renowned for their medicinal properties in traditional Chinese medicine and are commonly drunk as soup or wine to boost the person's immunity.

Yang has now started his own company to make his business more formal and build a brand, and also to conduct research and development for his products, which range from dried snake to snake wine and snake powder.
"Our original breeding method has been approved and recognised by the province and the county. They see us as the corporation working with the farming families," Yang said.
"So the company researches on the snakes and they hand them over to the farms for breeding. They said this model was working very well."

The original breeding method was simply putting males and females together, but now meticulous research is done on how the snakes breed, how to select good females, investigation into their diet, and how to incubate eggs so survival rates rise.


Post a Comment

Don't Forget to leave Comment...