War against poverty fought in farmlands
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.