Yes, you read it right. A severe shortage of flower pickers is threatening to leave acres of safflowers (红花) drying in the land, causing losses of tens of thousands of yuan to the flower growers in Xinjiang (新疆). China Central Television (CCTV) posted the job opportunity on Weibo which attracted hundreds of responses from the intrigued users within a matter of minutes.
Safflower. Photo: weibo.com
Safflower is used in the traditional Chinese medicine which is said to benefit blood circulation. The Chinese has been growing the flower for over 1,700 years. Xinjiang boasts the largest fields of safflower in China.
July is the main picking season of safflower. In Yumin County (裕民县), the biggest safflower growing county in China, farmers are deeply worried as the flowers are at the risk of withering in the field lest they can find people to help pick.
It was estimated that all together at least 5,000 flower pickers are needed. The flowers are sold at over 10 yuan per kilo and it was said that even the least experienced pickers can pick about 15 kilos a day, which adds up to at least 5,000 yuan (roughly $ 815) per month, a rather considerable income in China.
The fields of blazing blooms are not bringing smiles to the farmers this year because they are all going to be wasted if no one helps to pick them. Photo: weibo.com
“If the picking season is missed, the famers will suffer a substantial loss! Do repost this Weibo to your friends who are looking for a job!” urged CCTV in its post.
Certainly some of the Chinese are enticed only by the beautiful scenery, not the job. Some said in the comments that it is hard work under the summer sun. “You have to endure mosquito bites and getting pricked by the flower’s thorns.” One warned. Weibo user @为什么叫陈莉 who is from Yili, Xijiang retorted, “It is a well-paid job with free board and lodging. A lot of people do this in Xinjiang. Is it too much to put up for the good money?”
Others appears to think highly of the job, “It is much better than carrying bricks!” said one Weibo user. Another agreed, “Yeah! You can not only enjoy the beautiful scenery, more importantly, you get paid!”
“Just think of it as a vocation,” suggested user.