Guizhou: Re­form­ing Away from Poverty

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Text by Li Zhuoxi Pho­tographs by Dong Fang

Since the 18th Na­tional Congress of the Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, de­spite grave dif­fi­cul­ties both at home and abroad, China has risen to the chal­lenge and worked hard to press ahead, driv­ing for­ward sus­tained, healthy eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, un­der the lead­er­ship of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee with Xi Jin­ping at its core.

Dur­ing the past five years, China has achieved ma­jor progress in fin­ish­ing build­ing a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects, made im­por­tant strides in deep­en­ing re­form, and con­tin­ued to ex­er­cise law-based gov­er­nance. All of these achieve­ments show that Chi­nese peo­ple have the courage, in­ge­nu­ity, and abil­ity to over­come any dif­fi­culty or hard­ship, and that there is even bet­ter de­vel­op­ment ahead for China.

Par­tic­u­lar his­tor­i­cal and ge­o­graph­i­cal fac­tors have cornered Guizhou Prov­ince in south­west­ern China into a grim sit­u­a­tion. As de­scribed in the Hu­man De­vel­op­ment Re­port 2005 re­leased by the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP), “If Guizhou were a coun­try, it would fol­low Namibia on the hu­man de­vel­op­ment in­dex.”

By early 2015, 6.23 mil­lion Guizhou res­i­dents re­mained below the poverty line, and 50 of the 88 coun­ties in the prov­ince were des­ig­nated as key poverty al­le­vi­a­tion tar­gets in China. For many years, Guizhou has been known for its poverty.

Nat­u­rally, peo­ple across China have been con­tribut­ing to lift­ing Guizhou out of poverty as they work to­wards the goal of mak- ing China a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects by 2020.

In 2015, a re­form plan for a pre­fec­ture-level city in Guizhou caught the at­ten­tion of the cen­tral gov­ern­ment of China. Li­u­pan­shui City made break­throughs in fur­ther­ing its ru­ral re­form via “chang­ing re­sources into as­sets, chang­ing cap­i­tal into eq­ui­ties and chang­ing farm­ers into share­hold­ers.” On Novem­ber 27, 2015, the city’s fruit­ful re­sults were cited by Xi Jin­ping, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, at a cen­tral work con­fer­ence on poverty al­le­vi­a­tion and de­vel­op­ment: “We should re­form and ren­o­vate to ac­ti­vate re­sources of land, la­bor, cap­i­tal and nat­u­ral scenery in poverty-stricken ar­eas to kin­dle prof­its while pre­serv­ing the ecosys­tem like what they did in Li­u­pan­shui, Guizhou.”

Col­lec­tive Prop­erty Rights

In 1978, a new term be­gan spread­ing across China: “House­hold con­tract re­spon­si­bil­ity sys­tem with re­mu­ner­a­tion linked to out­put.” It refers to con­tract­ing land for house­hold op­er­a­tion, which greatly lib­er­ated the pro­duc­tive forces in ru­ral ar­eas, mo­bi­lized pro­duc­tion en­thu­si­asm and brought earth-shak­ing changes to ru­ral China. In­ten­sive and metic­u­lous farm­ing based on house­holds mirac­u­lously man­aged to feed 22 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion with only seven per­cent of its land.

How­ever, with the con­tin­u­ous de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral ar­eas, new prob­lems have emerged. House­hold pro­duc­tion hardly meets the needs of the large-scale, or­ga­nized and mar­ket-ori­ented de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral eco­nom­ics and is only roughly con­nected with the mar­ket. In re­cent years, po­ten­tial so­lu­tions to these prob­lems have been on many minds.

In Miluo Town of Guizhou’s Shuicheng County is a com­pany named Run­y­ongheng that grows kiwi fruit on 10,000 mu (each mu is equiv­a­lent to 0.067 hectares) of land. Wang Shun­you from Ejia Vil­lage joined with his five mu of land, with an an­nual guar­an­teed in­come of 600 yuan per mu. “This fig­ure will in­crease year by year: The sec­ond five-years will be 1,300 yuan, and the third five-years 1,900 yuan.” For Wang Shun­you and his fam­ily, it has proved more cost-ef­fec­tive than their pre­vi­ous crop of corn, which would make less than 500 yuan per mu.

The guar­an­teed in­come has at­tracted many vil­lagers in Ejia to be­come stake­hold­ers. At present, a to­tal of 3,062 peo­ple from 875 house­holds have joined up, each of whom can earn an av­er­age of 4,300 yuan an­nu­ally from their shares.

Li Nan from Xiushui Vil­lage in Pud­ing County didn’t ex­pect any re­turns from his bar­ren but arable land be­cause he worked out­side the vil­lage, which has seen boom­ing tourism thanks to the sup­port of the An­shun Xing­wei Group. A to­tal of 1,100 vil­lagers bought shares of 5,200 mu of arable land un­der the man­age­ment of the vil­lage-level com­pany, and they an­nu­ally earn 1,000 yuan per mu as a div­i­dend.

In 2016, the an­nual in­come of Xiushui Eco-tourism Park reached 17 mil­lion yuan, and prof­its were paid to vil­lagers and used to re­con­struct the vil­lage.

The con­ver­sion of re­sources into as­sets has cre­ated op­por­tu­ni­ties for the vil­lage to share the fruits of its de­vel­op­ment with vil­lagers, cap­i­tal­ize on long-wasted re­sources, and trans­form ev­ery­thing into a po­ten­tial source of wealth.

In­dus­trial Plat­form

Build­ing mod­ern agri­cul­ture and chang­ing modes of agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment are the fo­cus of China’s agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment in the mod­ern era.

Guizhou Prov­ince’s suc­cess in turn­ing re­sources into as­sets, cap­i­tal into eq­ui­ties and farm­ers into share­hold­ers lies in its fo­cus on ad­just­ing pat­terns of agri­cul­tural progress in ru­ral ar­eas as it be­comes more in­dus­tri­al­ized.

At 53, Dong Dongx­ian works in the field be­long­ing to the lo­cal co­op­er­a­tive known as Duichang­sha in Caiguan Town, Xixiu Dis­trict of An­shun City. A few years ago, af­ter her hus­band was in­jured at a con­struc­tion site, Dong be­came the sole bread­win­ner for the fam­ily, but still strug­gled to sup­port her fam­ily by grow­ing crops.

“I used to grow corn and pota­toes, which barely earned any­thing,” re­calls Dong. “Ev­ery­thing is dif­fer­ent to­day. We fol­low what is in de­mand with the co­op­er­a­tive and grow sea­sonal veg­eta­bles, which earn a lot more, and we no longer have to do any mar­ket­ing.”

In early 2017, Guizhou Green Field Co., Ltd. was founded. The com­pany con­tracts with co­op­er­a­tives and ar­ranges or­ders for pro­duc­tion in ac­cor­dance with the needs of the mar­ket and low- in­come fam­i­lies, tar­get­ing both farm­ers and the mar­ket.

Duichang­sha Co­op­er­a­tive, where Dong Dongx­ian works, is one client of Green Field.

Green Field deals with all sorts of agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tives and en­ter­prises, of­fer­ing guar­an­teed prices in the off sea­son and mar­ket pur­chase prices dur­ing the peak sea­son to at­tract more im­pov­er­ished fam­i­lies to par­tic­i­pate in pro­duc­tion. The ap­proach has in­spired 827 low-in­come fam­i­lies to join a team grow­ing veg­eta­bles and rais­ing chick­ens, bring­ing each an an­nual av­er­age in­come in­crease of 20,000 yuan.

Crops can­not flour­ish with­out fer­tile land. Re­form fo­cused on en­er­giz­ing such a fer­tile land has pro­duced bril­liant growth. Over the last two years, pi­lot re­form cam­paigns in Guizhou have ben­e­fited 524,000 poverty-stricken fam­i­lies, in­creas­ing their per capita an­nual in­come by an av­er­age of 2,059 yuan. In 2016 alone, Guizhou lifted more than 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty.

The prov­ince’s re­form ex­pe­ri­ence has es­tab­lished a new model for agri­cul­tural man­age­ment and blazed a new trail for tar­geted poverty al­le­vi­a­tion, mak­ing Guizhou an en­gine pulling even more im­pov­er­ished peo­ple up.

Dong Dongx­ian (left) and Dong Tiany­ing (right) from Duichang­sha Co­op­er­a­tive in Caiguan Town. The “menu-style” poverty- aid pol­icy has not only helped the Dongs earn more from grow­ing veg­eta­bles but also made them share­hold­ers in the co­op­er­a­tive, which pays a div­i­dend at the end of ev­ery year.

The re­lo­ca­tion site for poverty-stricken house­holds in Caiguan Town, An­shun City, Guizhou. To make em­ploy­ment eas­ier, build­ings were con­structed with two sto­ries: The first floor is for shops and work­shops and the sec­ond for res­i­dences. Res­i­dents can work on the first floor with­out wor­ry­ing about tak­ing care of the fam­ily.

The veg­etable sort­ing work­shop of Green Field Co., Ltd. in An­shun City, Guizhou.

Liang­dufeng Chicken Farm in Qinglin Town, Li­u­pan­shui City, Guizhou.

Chil­dren in Ni­u­jiao (Ox Horn) Vil­lage, Li­u­pan­shui City, Guizhou. For a long time, vil­lagers made a liv­ing through tra­di­tional farm­ing, which pro­duced lit­tle in­come. Over the last few years, they have shaken off poverty and be­come bet­ter off thanks to re­form of poverty al­le­vi­a­tion.

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