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Liangya Village: A comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation, July 10, 2017 Adjust font size:

In the early morning of April 22, 2017, a small village in Youyang County, Chongqing that goes by the name of Liangya was awakened by the sound of lowing cattle. Tian Zongfu, a farmer in Group 3 of the village, had been up since dawn. After breakfast he drove fifteen beasts up the hillside. Tian began raising cattle in 2015, when he had 7. Now that number has increased to 15 with the help of a subsidy from the local government. “I am going to sell four of them by the end of this year, which will generate nearly 20,000 yuan (U.S. $2,923),” says Tian. “And I’ll also make additional income by selling 1,000 kg of grain. Through these steps I will be free of poverty this year.” He added that thanks to favorable policies put in place by the government, the whole village was experiencing growth in industrial development.

A target was set to lift all the poor of the village—85 people from 35 families—out of poverty in 2017. This has been the first priority on the agenda of the village. Ran Guangxing, the village Party secretary, explained the plan.

Infrastructure construction

"The village has ten administrative groups, six of which do not have access to roads. The people there do their fetching and carrying mostly using manpower. Therefore improving infrastructure is one key element in eradicating poverty," said Ran. He understands the important role that roads can play in improving people’s lives.

According to Ran, Liangya is building roads to lift the whole village out of poverty. It will build 11 km of roads leading to the groups, a public service center of 400 m2 and a service center of 150 m2. All those have complete supporting facilities. It will also build 12.5 km of tarmac or cement roads, a road of 2.5 km from Group 9 to Dadi Village of Youshuihe Town, and one of 5 km from Liangya Village Committee to Hongshaling Road. “They will help us develop industries and get rid of poverty”, said Ran Guangxing. Some of the infrastructure projects in Liangya have begun. All the projects are expected to be finished by the end of 2017.

Industrial development

Ran Jingyuan was busy weeding a pepper field along with a group of workers. He said that he built a pepper base of over 120 mu (8 hectares) with strong support of the village and town officials, who offered him funds and technical training. Ran was registered as a poor farmer in Group 1 of Liangya in 2014. He has a family of nine, of which five are in education, and sending them to school forced him into poverty. The officials reached out to him and after considering the situation of his family suggested that he plant pepper. "At the beginning of last year I planted 50 mu (3.3 hectares) of pepper, which generated an income of 80,000 yuan (U.S. $11,691). With this level of income it is certain that I will be free of poverty this year," he says.

52-year old Bai Juncheng is another of those working in the pepper field. He receives the minimum living guarantee from the government. He said with smile: “I am responsible for weeding, spraying pesticide, and harvesting pepper, for which I earn 60 yuan (U.S. $8.8) each day. It’s good to work in my own village as I am old and have hemiplegia.”

All the others working in the pepper field are farmers from nearby villages. As they stay in the locality, they can also take care of their families. Ran disclosed that in Liangya 20 families kept honey bees. In 2016 the village earned 200,000 yuan (U.S. $29,200) by selling honey. Because of the high output and good prospects, the village produced 200 barrels of honey in 2017. The village is also raising 1,300 pigs and 120 oxen.

Targeted measures

"To fully implement targeted poverty alleviation, we are going to help villagers develop a better awareness of preferential policies. We must guarantee the basic needs of those living in poverty and ensure they have adequate access to education, medical care and housing," Ran said. There are still people in the village who have a backward lifestyle and live at subsistence level. They plant and raise animals in a traditional way. They plant crops for food, raise pigs to kill in the Lunar New Year Festival, and raise chickens to pay for their daily expenses. To eradicate poverty and put an end to the backward conditions, the government should truly help the poor by introducing targeted measures for each poor family. This is essential to ensure that the poor do not simply sink back into poverty.

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