Strat­egy pays off

Chi­nese stu­dents im­prove height and weight

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By HUY­ONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The govern­ment has de­cided to fur­ther tar­get poverty al­le­vi­a­tion by de­vel­op­ing ap­pro­pri­ate and suit­able in­dus­tries to boost eco­nomic growth and raise in­come in the least-de­vel­oped ar­eas.

The plan is away of pre­cisely al­le­vi­at­ing these re­gions from low in­come con­di­tions and poor liv­ing stan­dards, part of a five-year pro­gram for poverty al­le­vi­a­tion that was ap­proved at a State Coun­cil ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing, which was presided over by Premier Li Ke­qiang on Tues­day, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased af­ter the meet­ing.

Achiev­ing poverty al­le­vi­a­tion is ben­e­fi­cial to bal­anced de­vel­op­ment among dif­fer­ent re­gions and build­ing a welloff so­ci­ety with shared wealth, a tar­get the govern­ment has set for 2020, the state­ment said.

Last year, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pledged to erad­i­cate poverty on the Chi­nese main­land by 2020, en­abling 55.75 mil­lion peo­ple in 592 coun­ties with an an­nual in­come per capita un­der the poverty line of 2,800 yuan ($405) to earn more.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, the plan will ac­cel­er­ate a se­ries of ma­jor projects that fo­cus on bor­der ar­eas, ar­eas with eth­nic groups and clus­tered poverty-stricken ar­eas. The tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion plan will also pro­mote forestry, tourism and e-com­merce and pro­duce prod­ucts for each vil­lage, town­ship and county, aim­ing to in­crease farmer in­come and di­ver­sify the lo­cal econ­omy.

Tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion has been es­poused for years, chang­ing from the tra­di­tional method of grant­ing money or dis­tribut­ing food and other goods to lo­cals to de­vel­op­ing an in­dus­try to es­tab­lish an en­dur­ing chan­nel of in­come.

In ad­di­tion, fa­vor­able poli­cies in fi­nanc­ing and land will be con­ducted in the plan while the east will be en­cour­aged to help the west pro­mote bal­anced de­vel­op­ment, the state­ment said.

“Tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion has shifted its fo­cus to spe­cific farm­ers and their fam­i­lies from the tra­di­tional fo­cus on re­gional de­vel­op­ment,” said Li Xiaoyun, a pro­fes­sor of ru­ral stud­ies at China Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity. This frame­work sets spe­cific tar­gets for ob­jec­tives, projects, funds and who will ben­e­fit, the pro­fes­sor added.

Yuexi county, one of the 592 coun­ties that has been strug­gling with low in­come due to its iso­lated lo­ca­tion deep in the Da­bie Moun­tains in East China’s An­hui prov­ince, ex­em­pli­fies just how im­por­tant de­vel­op­ing a suit­able in­dus­try for poverty-stricken peo­ple can be.

Decades ago, lo­cals picked up as­sis­tive ma­te­ri­als such as food and quilts. How­ever, the as­sis­tance didn’t change the sta­tus quo for farm­ers, many of whom earned around 1,000 to 2,000 yuan per year.

When a new ex­press­way was opened to con­nect the county with the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal He­fei four years ago, the county govern­ment showed in­vestors how to de­velop tourism and the man­u­fac­tur­ing of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, build­ing on its ad­van­tages of fresh air and water and un­con­tam­i­nated agri­cul­tural land.

Now, a new tourist site called Da­bie Moun­tain Rain­bow Fall has been es­tab­lished in Huang­wei town­ship to at­tract more than 100,000 vis­i­tors each year, bring­ing con­tin­u­ous in­come for the farm­ers who run restau­rants and hos­tels.

Zheng Guangfa, a 40-yearold restau­rant owner, said the key is that tourism brings cus­tomers whose con­sump­tion means an un­bro­ken chan­nel for earn­ings. “About 20 years ago, farm­ers only grew rice and wheat. That was far from enough to af­ford their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion or build a nice house,” Zheng said. “In­dus­try can be sus­tain­able in rais­ing our in­come.”

Last year, Zheng bought a car worth 200,000 yuan. Such a pur­chase was a dream be­fore the new busi­ness was es­tab­lished.

The town­ship can use its ad­van­tage in hav­ing an en­joy­able en­vi­ron­ment as the na­tion deals with air pol­lu­tion, said Shu Han­bing, the town­ship’s Party chief. “This is a tar­get we can achieve with in­bound in­vest­ments, rais­ing liv­ing stan­dards for the lo­cals,” he said.

Tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion has shifted its fo­cus to spe­cific farm­ers and their fam­i­lies ...”

Li Xiaoyun, pro­fes­sor, China Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity

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