How China is using science and technology to lift farmers out of poverty
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Wu Yuehui, Gu Yekai
Science and technology are fully exploited by China to help its poverty alleviation efforts, which has increased income for huge batches of farmers.
Since 2012, China's science and technology community has established 1 290 platforms to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas that fostered 77 000 pairs of mutual assistance and dispatched 289 800 experts to rural areas. Investing over 20 billion yuan ($3.09 billion), China's science and technology community has implemented 37 600 sci-tech projects at different levels, and promoted more than 50 000 advanced and practical technologies.
In Wuyi County, east China's Zhejiang Province, a demonstration base of fungus cultivation was established under the assistance of a research team headed by Cai Weiming, a researcher with Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Over 20 production lines have been built at the base, benefiting more than 90 percent of fungus farmers in the county and increasing their income by over 100 million yuan.
Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) Deng Xiuxin promoted a new planting technology in Zigui County, central China's Hubei province, which effectively expanded the picking time of fruits, making Zigui County one of the orange production areas in China that enjoy the longest supply period. This technology alone has increased 30 percent of income for local farmers.
Panam is a county situated 4 000 metres above the sea level in Shigatse, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. It enjoyed over 10 consecutive years of harvest of highland barley due to sufficient sunshine and large temperature difference. However, the income of local residents is still average due to the stable price of highland barley.
Zhang Ming, an expert of vegetable growing who went to Panam to assistance from Jinan, east China's Shandong province, led local farmers to grow fruits and vegetables by improving soil and introducing new varieties. After years of development, the county is now home to over 10,000 greenhouses where 140 varieties of fruits and vegetables are grown. Covering a planting area of 933 hectares, these greenhouses generate annual revenue of 200 million yuan.
In October 2018, Panam County was officially removed from the poverty list. Over 4,000 residents have grown rich by planting vegetables or fruits.
As a Chinese saying goes, it’s better to pass on fishing skills than to hand out fish. China's science and technology community also launched sci-tech training programs and science popularization projects in rural areas to stimulate farmers' potential for self-development.
Academician Zhu Youyong of the CAE started a sci-tech training program with his team in Lancang County, southwest China's Yunnan Province to pass on professional agricultural skills to impoverished residents. Villager Ma Zhengfa, who signed up for two courses of potato and orchard planting, has not only increased his income, but also led 10 other registered impoverished families to get out of poverty.
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, the central government of China has allocated a total of 2.14 billion yuan since 2014 to cultivate sci-tech personnel in former revolutionary base areas, ethnic minorities areas, border areas and impoverished areas, training a total of 20 000 people.
* This article was published in partnership with People’s Daily Online SA.