CHINA Rural revitalization in East China: Stories of three generations of farmers

CHINA

Rural revitalization in East China: Stories of three generations of farmers

By Xu Jingeng, Pan Junqiang and Xiao Jiaxin | People's Daily app

15:03, August 23, 2020

New ways of planting, e-commerce and cultural tourism are boosting the integrated development of the rural economy in East China’s Shandong Province.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said that rural industry revitalization should focus on the development of modern agriculture, when joining a panel discussion with deputies from Shandong at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress on March 8, 2018.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping joins a panel discussion with deputies from Shandong Province at the first session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, March 8, 2018. (File Photo: Xinhua)

Xi stressed that to eliminate poverty and promote prosperity in rural life, we should develop a rural economic system through integrated development of primary, secondary and tertiary industries in rural areas.

Here are stories told by three generations of farmers in Shandong about moving toward a well-off life and their new plans for the future.

53-year-old Xu Fengkun: New hope for farming

When you walk into Songxingtun village in Gaomi city, you are likely to be attracted by the vast greenhouses and tidy roads. On the day of this interview, farmer Xu Fengkun is planting grapes with a cooperative.

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A wide street and rows of houses in Songxingtun village in Gaomi, Shandong Province. (Photo: China Daily)

“It never occurred to me that going back to the village to plant grapes would become my way to get rich.”

In the past, income from farming was too low to live on, so many villagers went to cities to earn a living. As a result of the implementation of rural revitalization policies, many able-bodied workers have returned to our villages one after another.

Under the leadership of Xu Linshou, secretary of the CPC Songxingtun Village Committee, we built greenhouses to plant grapes. We became shareholders in the cooperative with land and planted 60 hectares of fruit seedlings. Among which, I manage 13.3 hectares of vineyards.

Now I get a monthly salary as well as a bonus from the grapes. Last year, I got a bonus of 400,000 yuan (about $57,800), doubling my income.

42-year-old Liu Juntong: E-commerce is an express train to get rich

Liu Juntong married into Wangjiatuan village, a mountain village in Weihai. Benefiting from Shandong's policy of speeding up Internet upgrading to foster rural e-commerce, she sold her fruit online. Last year, online sales of agricultural products from rural e-commerce in Shandong reached 29.46 billion yuan.

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Persimmon Garden guest house in Wangjiatuan Village in Weihai, Shandong Province. (Photo: Dazhong Daily)

“I married into this mountain village because of love. I wanted to leave at first, but now I can’t bear to leave.”

A couple of years ago, I run an online store in the city. I can’t afford to rent a warehouse even though the logistics there was convenient, so I moved back to the village. However, the mountain village has an insufficient power supply, unstable voltage and frequent power outages. Sometimes I was chatting with buyers and suddenly the Internet disconnected. I thought about moving back to the city.

In recent years, with the help of the Party committee and the government, the village has paved dirt roads with asphalt, upgraded its power grid and increased its network bandwidth. Sales are becoming more stable, and the annual net income can exceed 150,000 yuan.

In the past two years, in order to adapt to the transformation of e-commerce, I participated in the government e-commerce training and went out for study. Back to the village, I thought about the development of the existing industry in the village. Relying on the good ecology, the village has set up the Persimmon Garden guest house, farmhouses, leisure parks, coffee bars, ecological tours, and also sells local specialties.

I’m going to try influencer marketing to draw more netizens' attention to our village and raise its popularity, promoting both goods and the charming scenery of Likou Mountain.

27-year-old Li Gen: Cultural tourism potential

By the end of last year, rural tourism in Shandong Province had received 540 million tourists, with consumption reaching 270.99 billion yuan. Dongzhongdu village in Jining city is one of the villages that have grown rich through rural tourism development. Li Gen, one of the "village revitalization partners,” works with other investors to jointly develop new types of agricultural entities and new forms of business in rural areas.

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A local specialties shop in Dongzhongdu Village in Jining, Shandong Province. (Photo: China Daily)

“At first, I didn’t want to go back to the village.

Our village is full of mountains and barren lands, and the economic foundation is weak. Our ancestors have worked so hard, and it has been difficult to make a profit.

In the fight against poverty, officials in the village introduced cherries and passion fruit, but they could not find a suitable person to manage the crops. Encouraged by my father and village officials, I returned to the village to manage poverty alleviation projects.

A new expressway and high-speed railway have been built in the vicinity of our village in recent years, and a new scenic spot featuring the Confucian Culture in the Nishan Mountain has been set up. Around the theme of traditional culture, we set up bookstores, pottery and wood workshops.

During the May Day holiday this year, more than 30,000 tourists came over five days despite the epidemic control restrictions, bringing an income of over 1 million yuan.

We are going to develop some traditional cultural projects to sell high-quality agricultural products so that the villagers can get rich even if they don't leave the village."

(Translated by Wang Pengda and edited by Zhang Jian, original story from People’s Daily)

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