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Industrial development drives poverty alleviation in southwest China by Zhao Binyu,August 17, 2020 Adjust font size:

Addressing extremely impoverished areas is the most difficult part of China’s campaign to end poverty in its borders. Efforts in these areas – Tibet autonomous region; the Tibetan areas in Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces; Hotan county-level city, Aksu prefecture, Kashgar city, and Kizilsu Kirgiz autonomous prefecture in southern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region; Sichuan province’s Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province’s Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture, and Gansu province’s Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture – have been particularly arduous. The country has had to think about how to achieve its goal of eradicating poverty by the end of 2020 on schedule, and has also considered how to achieve sustainable growth in order to promote the steady creation of a society that is moderately and comprehensively prosperous after poverty is eliminated. Industrial development has been actively pursued in southwestern China by government bodies, private enterprises, and members of the public in order to reduce poverty, consolidate outcomes, and revitalize rural areas. Business endeavors have been undertaken in extremely impoverished areas in a variety of sectors for the purpose of helping their residents become more prosperous.

Industries support poverty relief

Poverty relief endeavors that involve projects that promote economic growth have played a significant role in increasing impoverished citizens’ incomes and promoting regional industrial development. Many methods of eradicating poverty have been explored and implemented in the aforementioned impoverished areas in recent years, and industry has proven to play a key role in their fight against poverty.

Liu Ji, first Party secretary of Tehe village, Hongmo town in Xide county, Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province, mentioned that six pig farms that pay 1,000 yuan (US$143) of dividends per year to every impoverished household in the village were built as a result of integrating various industrial development funds and cooperating with enterprises. The undertaking has helped boost the incomes of local poor residents to an average of at least 10,000 yuan (US$1,429) per year, which has helped to drop the poverty rate from 29.6 percent to 2.19 percent.

Records indicate that industrial development has been a very important part of poverty eradication efforts in Liangshan. The autonomous prefecture’s impoverished population decreased from 518,000 in 2013 to 178,000 at the end of 2019, which brought the poverty rate down to 4 percent. Over 50 percent of the families that escaped from poverty did so by participating in the maturing local agricultural industry. More than 100,000 local households are currently involved in large-scale farming endeavors, and over 75 percent of the general population became involved with new business entities operating in various other sectors.

Tibet autonomous region has invested 36.2 billion yuan (US$4.66 billion) in 2,661 industrial poverty reduction projects since 2016, which have helped make it possible for 238,000 people to escape from poverty. Sichuan province’s Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture invested 13.2 billion yuan (US$1.89 billion) of special funds into poverty alleviation projects in 2019 and comprehensively pursued coordinated development of impoverished and non-impoverished families and villages, respectively, and achieved its goal of helping 31,000 poverty-stricken members of 7,125 households get rid of poverty, which reduced the poverty rate to 0.23 percent.

Four hundred thirty million yuan (US$61.45 million) has been invested in industrial development in Shangri-La city, Deqen Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Yunnan province since 2015. Advantageous undertakings such as traditional Chinese medicinal herbs growing, livestock and poultry farming, vegetable cultivation, and the growth of cereal in plateau areas, continue to grow in accordance with local conditions, which helped bring the city’s overall poverty rate down to 0.38 percent by the end of 2019. Considered the “first poverty relief project,” industrial development has formed a solid foundation for the campaign to help impoverished local citizens become more prosperous.

Achieving stable industrial development on schedule

Extremely impoverished regions tend to possess complex topography and difficult climates. These factors restrict the growth of various industries in addition to shaping their unique natural landscapes. The phrase “the natural environment is the most fragile resource and the most precious resource” is often heard in these areas in recent years. Industries are often identified that respect and make use of their environments in order to develop and stabilize poverty reduction foundations, such as forestry, modern agriculture, processing, and rural tourism, so that people in need can sustain themselves by forming and working with new businesses instead of “relying on the weather.”

“I work 2 km from my home and make up to 4,000 yuan (US$572) a month, so I don’t need to seek employment outside my hometown,” explained Suolang, a 45-year-old resident of Danada township in Xietongmen county, Xigaze city, Tibet. He works at a company that is mostly engaged in the cultivation and processing of edible mushrooms and has a facility in his area. It currently employs 127 people, 68 of whom are impoverished, and has an output of 2-3 tons per day. Modern agriculture helps promote poverty elimination in a stable manner as industrial chains improve.

“Cooperation between various locations in east and west China is a fundamental part of eliminating poverty via industrial development,” noted Xu Hang, who as assigned by Guangdong province’s Foshan city to serve the post of deputy Party secretary of Zhaojue county in Liangshan, Sichuan. A total of 770 million yuan (US$110.04 million) of poverty alleviation funding was allocated to Liangshan in 2019. The Fuzhao modern agriculture industrial park that was jointly developed by poverty eradication partnership groups in Mianyang city’s Fucheng district, Foshan city’s Chancheng district, and Liangshan’s Zhaojue county features 33.3 ha worth of standardized vegetable greenhouses and mushroom grow houses and will create a 333-ha modern agricultural park in the next three years.

Construction of 30 poverty reduction tourism demonstration villages is accelerating around the three rivers that flow parallel to each other in Yunnan’s Nujiang Lisu autonomous prefecture. Seven hundred fifty households have taken advantage of the characteristic tourism resources in their areas and become examples of how to participate in the industry in order to escape from poverty. The sector is making it possible for increasing numbers of the prefecture’s natives to work in their local areas.

Injecting vitality into the emerging moderately prosperous society

Industrial growth is a key part of poverty eradication in the extremely impoverished areas, and helps people become more confident about their ability to participate in the development of a moderately and comprehensively prosperous society.

Home to 52 impoverished residents in 16 households, Wandigou is one of the 53 most poverty-stricken villages in Yajiang county, Garze prefecture, Sichuan. Favorable natural conditions are present in the area, however, such as relatively ample sunlight, low altitudes, lush forests, and quality water. Officials involved with targeted poverty alleviation efforts, village cooperatives, and local enterprises eventually invested a total of 3.6 million yuan (US$514,466) in the creation of large farms in the area in order to harness the resources that are available and develop the local economy. More than 800,000 yuan (US$114,326) of dividends have been distributed to Wandigou’s residents over the past four years, which has been significant in helping impoverished households increase their incomes and escape from poverty. According to Zhang Huidong, a supporting officer working in the village, the members of local poverty-stricken households received an average of 1,000 yuan (US$143) of dividends per person and that members of non-impoverished households each received an average of 730 yuan (US$104) of dividends in 2019.

“I have mastered various farming and ranch management skills, and my son is learning to drive because he wants to work as a driver,” said Buciren, a resident of Pula village of Luoma town, Seni district, Nagqu city, Tibet. He realized his dream of raising yaks after he moved from a wild grassland area to the poverty relief relocation site that he currently lives at. His family of three members now earn an average of 30,000 yuan (US$4,287) each per year.

The characteristic and advantageous industries that are being pursued for poverty alleviation purposes have unlocked the economic value in areas that are deeply impoverished, and have enhanced poverty reduction and the development of a moderately prosperous society. The people who are participating are becoming more certain of their ability to live more comfortable lives.


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