In the early autumn morning, Liu Keguang and some villagers are walking on a mountain path. After a while, a large field of green forest comes into view. Liu says, “The hilltop used to be full of loess without any trees. It took them 20 years to improve the environment, so that is why every one can see the green trees all around the hill.”
We continue walking to top of hill. Another man Li Youcheng tells us, “We only depend on farming to support our family, when the weather is bad we have nothing to do just hope it rains. Otherwise we can not afford tuition so we must borrow money. I think the Farmland to Forestry policy has lots of advantages. For example, this method helps us change our fixed concepts about farming, from a single way of planting to the development of detailed management. That’s why we can make more money. It’s good to believe in scientific planting.”
Today Li Youcheng and other villagers have built more greenhouses, to grow a variety of agricultural products like grapes, strawberries, cantaloupes and watermelons, which have a high value. As a result, their annual income have risen to 20,000 yuan. As a pioneer of the Farmland to Forestry policy, Liu leads others to enter the multi-crop planting industry. His story represents the significance of the saying, “Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.”
Efforts are not in vain, according to the data. Shaanxi completed the conversion of 40.337 million hectares of land under the Farmland to Forestry policy by 2018. Of this area, forests were planted on 19.327 million mu of barren hills, and farmers converted 18.615 million mu of farmland into forests. This was the largest-scale implementation of the policy in the country, with 9.15 million farmers receiving a subsidy of 3,776 yuan each.
(Compiled by Bai Yuanqi and Ma Luyao; Source: Discover Shannxi)