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Modern agriculture helps farmers live better lives by Wang Jinli,April 01, 2020 Adjust font size:

Agricultural scientist Zhao Yafu devotes himself to helping poverty-stricken villages become more prosperous by introducing modern agriculture techniques so that their farmers can live better and happier lives.

Agriculture ‘doctor’

Peng Yuhong is a farmer who lives in Daizhuang village, Jurong city, Zhenjiang city, Jiangsu province. He currently earns about 200,000 yuan a year (US$29,662) with his peach, kiwi, and poultry farming operations.

“Our lives have become better and better as a result of Zhao’s assistance,” Peng exclaimed.

The Daizhuang resident grows more than 5.33 ha’s worth of peaches. The crop almost failed six years ago, however. Zhao and other experts introduced modern techniques and conducted 30 training sessions for him, and the situation improved.

Peng eventually began growing kiwi trees as well. Zhao arranged for agricultural experts from Japan to provide guidance semi-annually.

Eight years ago, a farmer named Fang Zhiqiang moved to Daizhuang, leased 6.67 ha of land, and began growing blueberries. Some of Fang’s blueberry bushes began to wither after three years, but no one knew why. He went to Zhao for help.

The agricultural “doctor” determined that the bushes were suffering from iron deficiency. Fang bought green vitriol and blended it into the soil that the plants were growing in. They recovered and things got much better for the agriculturalist.

Fang also began using organic fertilizer under the instruction of Zhao. The plump, delicious blueberries that emerged attracted the interest of companies from Qingdao, Shandong province.

Pathway to greater prosperity

Economic development in Nanjing has led to greater land and labor costs in Jurong, which is the county-level city under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Zhenjiang that Daizhuang is located in, and has accelerated migration away from the area on the part of its rural natives. The number of households engaged in agriculture in the village has fallen from 800 to a little over 200 in recent years.

In 2015, Zhao conducted a survey of opinions about land contracting and leasing in Daizhuang. Eighty-five percent of the farmers who were part of the study were willing to transfer their land use and management rights to specialized households through a cooperative. Local farmers began doing so with the help of officials working in the village in order to pursue moderate-scale management and high-efficiency agriculture.

In 2018, average per capita income in Daizhuang reached about 27,000 yuan (US$3,857) per year,with agricultural income accounting for 40 percent of the figure. More than 50 households were involved with moderate-scale management and generated all of their income from farming.

Zhao has been involved with many different agricultural projects and considers poverty reduction work to be his lifelong career. He has shown great commitment and has no intention of changing fields.

In 2018, Zhao and other agricultural experts established a workroom for the purpose of providing technical support to over 100 cooperatives and 450,000 farmers in Yanhe Tujia autonomous county, which is a nationally recognized, poverty-stricken territory located in the mountains of northeast Guizhou province.

The dedicated agricultural scientist actively communicates with village officials from 12 provinces, such as Guizhou, Jiangsu and Guangxi, and they share information about their poverty alleviation experiences with each other. 

Modern agriculture helps villagers increase their incomes

Peng adopted circular agriculturein his peach orchard under the instruction of Zhao. The increasingly modern farmer mentioned that he also raises fowls. He explained that they eat grass and pests, and their excrement can be used as fertilizer. Peng does not need to use pesticides and chemical fertilizer. The techniques that he has implemented are good for the environment, and the organic produce that he grows is more profitable than regular crops as well.

In recent years,many villages in China have adopted organic and circular agriculture techniques.

Jiangxiang is the name of a village in Zhitang town, Changshu city, Jiangsu province that has historically engaged in agriculture but suffered from poor economic performance.

Zhao conducted research in the village in 2015 and came up with a plan.He proposedthat its farmers begin utilizing organic techniques, engaging incrop rotation, and using green manure.

These kinds of comprehensive, environmentally friendly farming practices have been implemented on 80 ha of grain fields. Every ha of grain now yields more than 75,000 yuan (US$10,718) of profit per year, which is more than twice as much as what was generated before modern agriculture was implemented, and Jiangxiang’s collective has increased its income by over two million yuan (US$285,800) a year.

When asked about his upcoming plans,Zhao stated:“ I intend to introduce organic Japanese rice developed by theZhejiang Xinxie Yueguang Agricultural Science and Technology company and the sales model associated with it to two or three villages in Tianwang town, Zhenjiang city. It will likely be grown on more than 667 ha of land.” 

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