War against poverty fought in farm­lands

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By XIN­HUA in Xi’an

Rather than hav­ing an of­fice on cam­pus, Pro­fes­sor Li Bingzhi’s class­room is on a stretch of farm­land.

Each year, Li, a pro­fes­sor at North­west Agri­cul­ture and For­est Univer­sity in Shaanxi prov­ince, spends nearly 300 days in the or­chards of iso­lated Qianyang county.

“I teach farm­ers about the lat­est cul­ti­va­tion tech­nol­ogy, face to face. It is our duty to help farm­ers out of poverty,” Li said.

In the past year, Li and his team or­ga­nized more than 30 train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, ben­e­fit­ing more than 8,000 fruit farm­ers.

Since 2012, the ap­ple or­chards in the county have tripled in size to cover 6,700 hectares and ap­ple out­put per hectare has quadru­pled, rais­ing the an­nual in­come of farm­ers to 50,000 yuan ($7,300).

“The projects with less in­vest­ment and quick re­turns can re­ally help farm­ers out of poverty,” Li said. “This year, we are de­ter­mined to help them cut the costs of plant­ing in half by breeding high-qual­ity trees.”

Qianyang has at­tracted sev­eral agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises to set up fruit man­u­fac­tur­ing fac­to­ries in re­cent years, cre­at­ing jobs and of­fer­ing farm­ers new sales chan­nels.

E-com­merce is boom­ing in the poverty-hit re­gion.

Han Xiao is a house­hold name in Shanyang county. In 2015, he started an on­line shop on Taobao, re­ceiv­ing lots of or­ders for his honey prod­ucts.

More farm­ers fol­lowed Han’s suc­cess. In Shanyang, on­line sales hit 1 bil­lion yuan last year, cre­at­ing more than 2,300 jobs and help­ing 560 fam­i­lies out of poverty.

“E-com­merce in ru­ral ar­eas has be­come an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant means of re­form­ing agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment and has helped re­duce poverty,” said Zhang Hong, a pro­fes­sor at Xi’an Univer­sity of Posts and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Shaanxi ex­pects to achieve its 2017 tar­get of lift­ing 885,000 peo­ple out of poverty. In or­der to win the war against poverty, lo­cal gov­ern­ments have adopted means such as e-com­merce, fi­nanc­ing, in­dus­try re­lo­ca­tion and in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ment.

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