Qing­hai goes green

Eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion en­ters prov­ince’s pol­icy plan­ning

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - Con­tact the writer at li­ux­i­an­grui@chinadaily.com.cn

In Yushu in North­west China’s Qing­hai prov­ince, eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion has en­tered pol­icy plan­ning, in­clud­ing poverty re­duc­tion.

In re­cent times, pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and en­sur­ing liveli­hood have be­come the fo­cus of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in this pre­fec­ture-level city.

In Qu­mar­leb county of Yushu, for ex­am­ple, herds­men have joined govern­ment-sup­ported an­i­mal hus­bandry co­op­er­a­tives, leav­ing be­hind tra­di­tional ways.

The land­locked county, at an al­ti­tude of 4,550 me­ters above sea level, is heav­ily de­pen­dent on an­i­mal hus­bandry, ac­cord­ing to county chief Ny­ima Tashi.

The county has estab­lished 65 co­op­er­a­tives that are be­lieved to help in­te­grate la­bor and nat­u­ral re­sources, in­crease peo­ple’s in­comes, ease pres­sure on the grass­lands and lower the risks from ex­treme weather.

Lo­cal herds­man Zhaxi Gong­bao, 38, joined the Ti­betan Dike An­i­mal Hus­bandry Co­op­er­a­tive in Liyue, a re­mote town in Yushu, in 2013.

He has 60 yaks and 50 goats in the co­op­er­a­tive, and earns about 3,000 yuan ($450) a month from the co­op­er­a­tive’s profit-shar­ing mech­a­nism. Mem­bers take turns to look af­ter the an­i­mals in the co­op­er­a­tive and get paid by the day.

At times when he doesn’t need to work for the co­op­er­a­tive, Zhaxi Gong­bao and the other mem­bers usu­ally work side jobs such as driv­ing trucks to earn ex­tra cash.

“In the past we had only hus­bandry in­comes, and we barely had enough peo­ple and skills to look af­ter both our yaks and goats,” says Zhaxi Gong­bao, ex­plain­ing that his fam­ily’s in­come has dou­bled now com­pared to the past.

“Our profit has been in­creas­ing ev­ery year. Many more herds­men are willing to join us,” says Zha­jia, pres­i­dent of the co­op­er­a­tive.

When it was first started, the co­op­er­a­tive had only 22 house­holds, with 500 yaks and 500 goats. The co­op­er­a­tive’s ben­e­fits and man­age­ment style have won the trust of its mem­bers, Zha­jia says.

Now it has 45 house­holds, with 1,500 yaks and 2,800 goats un­der its man­age­ment.

The lo­cal govern­ment also has sought to up­grade agri­cul­ture here by pro­mot­ing spe­cial crops such as

yuan­gen, a kind of turnip that grows well on the high­land and has higher yield than tra­di­tional crops like bar­ley.

The turnip has a long his­tory of grow­ing on the plateau and its leaves are used as an­i­mal feed.

The tu­bers, how­ever, are rich in mi­croele­ments and have an an­ti­hy­poxic ef­fect.

Af­ter ex­per­i­ments, lo­cal agron­o­mists have suc­ceeded in plant­ing the turnip on higher land that was bar­ren ear­lier.

Nat­u­ral fer­til­iz­ers such as yak dung are used, and that has made the land richer for yuan­gen cul­ti­va­tion, lo­cal of­fi­cials say.

In Cheng­duo county of Yushu, a fac­tory has been set up where yuan­gen is pro­cessed into juice and snacks. The prod­ucts are sold in dif­fer­ent parts ofQing­hai and the Ti­bet au­ton­o­mous re­gion.

Ac­cord­ing to Li Hong­wei, gen­eral man­ager of the fac­tory, the pro­cess­ing started with the fund­ing of the lo­cal govern­ment af­ter a ma­jor earth­quake in 2013. Since then the unit, which was estab­lished in 2004, has de­vel­oped sev­eral prod­ucts based on the crop.

Be­sides its own grow­ing area of more than 17 hectares, the fac­tory has estab­lished co­op­er­a­tives with lo­cal farm­ers.

“We buy from them — 1 yuan per half kilo­gram. The farm­ers are very happy about the busi­ness,” says Li.

The fac­tory has more than 20 reg­u­lar­work­ers. It hire­supto 70 peo­ple, mostly farm­ers nearby, dur­ing the peak sea­son. A com­mon worker in the fac­tory earns about 1,800 yuan a month, and a tech­ni­cal worker gets some 3,000 yuan.

Af­ter work­ing in the fac­tory for a few years, So­nang Danzhu, 40, who used to be a bar­ley farmer, now makes 3,200 yuan per month.

“Work­ing in the fac­tory has given us eco­nomic as­sur­ance,” says So­nang Danzhu, whose fam­ily has six mem­bers. They were able to equip their home with elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances like a tele­vi­sion and a re­frig­er­a­tor last year.

Af­ter he started work­ing in the fac­tory, his fam­ily has also started grow­ing yuan­gen, which brings more in­come than bar­ley.

The fac­tory made 4 mil­lion yuan last year.

The en­tire in­dus­try is in­volved in the green drive, Li says. Af­ter the juice from the plant is taken out in the fac­tory, the waste is given back to the fam­i­lies to feed their yaks and goats, for ex­am­ple.

Dur­ing the 12th Five-year Plan (2010-15), Qing­hai com­bined tar­geted poverty re­duc­tion with eco­log­i­cal pro­tec­tion, and brought 1 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty dur­ing the pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to Ma Feng­sheng, head of the prov­ince’s poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and devel­op­ment bureau.

Our profit has been in­creas­ing ev­ery year. Many more herds­men are willing to join us.” Zha­jia, pres­i­dent of the Ti­betan Dike An­i­mal Hus­bandry Co­op­er­a­tive in Qu­mar­leb county, Qing­hai prov­ince

PHO­TOS BY WANG ZHUANGFEI / CHINA DAILY

Young Ti­betan women pro­duce woolen blan­kets in a work­shop that is part of the Ti­betan Dike An­i­mal Hus­bandry Co­op­er­a­tive in Qu­mar­leb county, Qing­hai prov­ince.

The co­op­er­a­tives have drawn in­creas­ing num­bers of peo­ple in Qu­mar­leb county. The crop yuan­gen is pro­cessed into drinks and snacks at a fac­tory in Cheng­duo county.

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