Li­u­pan­shui en­gages its im­pov­er­ished pop­u­la­tion in high value-added in­dus­tries By Wang Hairong

Beijing Review - - Cover Story -

Rows upon rows of con­crete poles are neatly ar­rayed along a hill­side in Miluo Township. Be­side the poles stand kiwi trees, about 2 me­ters tall, whose branches spread out along a wire net knit­ted at the top of the poles, giv­ing the scene the re­sem­blance of a vine­yard.

The kiwi or­chard in Miluo in Shuicheng County, in Li­u­pan­shui in south­west China’s Guizhou Prov­ince, is also a poverty alle­vi­a­tion project.

Green, egg-sized, oval ki­wifruits hide be­neath dense leaves, es­cap­ing the at­ten­tion of un­skilled eyes. “Here they are,” said Xie Mengjie, Deputy Sec­re­tary of the Miluo Township Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC), point­ing at two ki­wifruits that he had spot­ted. As ki­wifruits ma­ture in sum­mer, by Septem­ber, most of those in the or­chard have al­ready been har­vested, he said.

In the past, corn was grown in the field in Miluo, which could only fetch a mea­ger in­come. In re­cent years, the township gov­ern­ment has en­cour­aged the cul­ti­va­tion of more eco­nom­i­cally prof­itable agri­cul­tural prod­ucts such as kiwi, wal­nuts and tea, to im­ple­ment the cen­tral au­thor­i­ties’ call to turn green moun­tains and clear wa­ter into sources of wealth. Re­form is be­ing car­ried out to “trans­form re­sources into as­sets, funds into eq­ui­ties, and farm­ers into stock­hold­ers.”

A sweet un­der­tak­ing

Miluo has 34,566 res­i­dents in five vil­lages, half of whom be­long to mi­nor­ity eth­nic groups. Cur­rently, nearly one fourth of all the res­i­dents still live in poverty.

In re­cent years, some res­i­dents have shaken off poverty by work­ing in the kiwi or­chard.

Wang Shun­you, a res­i­dent in Ejia Vil­lage, used to plant corn and yam, mak­ing only around 2,500 yuan ($382) a year. With a 70-plusyear-old mother and two school-age chil­dren to sup­port, he had to work odd jobs else­where. Af­ter the kiwi or­chard was de­vel­oped, he started work­ing there.

Grad­u­ally, he be­came a skilled worker and then a su­per­vi­sor, mak­ing 36,000 yuan ($5,500) a year. In 2016, he re­ceived nearly 100,000 yuan ($15,280) from the project’s man­age­ment com­pany, which in ad­di­tion to his salary in­cluded div­i­dends from the land he in­vested in the com­pany in re­turn for shares. With the money, he bought a car.

“Although it took painstak­ing ef­forts to pool land to­gether, now see­ing the stretches of kiwi and wal­nut trees and scores of peo­ple work­ing there ev­ery day, I feel re­lieved,” said Zhang Din­grong, Sec­re­tary of the CPC Branch of Ejia Vil­lage. In 2015, Ejia was re­moved from the list of poor vil­lages in the county.

Poul­try rear­ing ben­e­fits

At the foot of karst hills in Li­u­pan­shui, be­neath a crys­tal-clear azure sky, lies a large meadow dot­ted with red-roofed and white-walled minia­ture en­clo­sures and wild flow­ers dip­ping and sway­ing in the breeze. Wave af­ter wave of rooster calls break the tran­quil­ity of the val­ley.

The lo­ca­tion is the Liang­dufeng Chicken Farm, launched in Qinglin Township in Fe­bru­ary to al­le­vi­ate poverty in the area.

Cur­rently, around 10,000 chick­ens live on the farm, while ap­prox­i­mately 10,000 chick­ens have been sold to cus­tomers in­clud­ing su­per­mar­kets, schools, hos­pi­tals and gov­ern­ment de­part­ments, said Zhao Zerong, Man­ager of Zhong­shan Dis­trict Prop­erty Man­age­ment and Ser­vice Co. Ltd., a state-owned com­pany founded to run gov­ern­ment-funded poverty alle­vi­a­tion projects.

Zhao said the site used to be a waste dump be­fore the com­pany car­ried out eco­log­i­cal

The Liang­dufeng Chicken Farm in Qinglin Township in Li­u­pan­shui, Guizhou Prov­ince

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