Gray-haired grassroots official sees fruitful poverty work in SW China
By Xu Yuanfeng and Lan Wanhua
People's Daily app

Li Zhongkai, the Party chief of a township in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, is happy that the local poverty alleviation work is bearing luscious tropical fruit.


Li Zhongkai (R) shows mangoes in Wanbi township, Dayao County, Southwest China's Yunnan Province. (Photos: People's Daily)

Two years ago, he came under the spotlight on Chinese social media due to a photo which showed him with gray hair-with many finding it hard to believe he was in his 30s.

Li, the Party chief of Wanbi township in Dayao County under the administration of Chuxiong Yi Autonomous Prefecture, came to Dayao in 2012 and has been dedicated to poverty relief ever since, and his hair also grew gray in that period.

In Dayao, a 250-kilometer drive from the provincial capital Kunming, more than 4,000 hectares of trees are expected to yield at least 3,500 tons of mangoes this year, worth more than 20 million yuan ($2.8 million), Li said.


A view of mangoes in Wanbi township, Dayao County, Southwest China's Yunnan Province. 

The mangoes have transformed lives: 6,399 Wanbi villagers from 1,625 extremely poor households in 12 villages have shaken off poverty, Li said.

The township near the Jinsha River has hot, dry, bright summer days and cold nights-- ideal for mangoes. Wanbi mangoes have a thin yellow skin, hints of red, and glowing, succulent flesh.

This year’s bumper harvest has been met with surging wholesale prices, according to Wanbi growers.

For example, the price of the early-ripening hong guifei mangoes has risen from 8 yuan per kilogram a few days ago to 12 yuan today.


Villagers receive a training in mango cultivation in Wanbi township, Dayao County, Southwest China's Yunnan Province. 

Once upon a time, backward management practices hindered the development of the township’s mango industry.

But then government training, management and technology revolutionized mango cultivation.

Since 2015, the government has organized over 70 programs to impart cultivation skills, benefiting more than 5,000 people.


The good mango harvest pleases the villagers in Wanbi township, Dayao County, Southwest China's Yunnan Province. 

Water shortage was another problem. To address this, the government encouraged the introduction of photovoltaic-powered drip irrigation projects. 

In addition, other industries including tourism, black goats and hogs, walnuts and peppers have also been developed and helped local residents earn more.

(Compiled by Huang Jingjing and Ma Wenqian)