Pujiang county in China’s Sichuan province is regarded as one ofthe best places in the world for growing kiwifruit because it enjoys a subtropical humid monsoon climate and a mild temperature all year long. Farmers in Pujiang started growing kiwifruits in the1990s, but they failed to see a rise in their revenue due to limited varieties andpoor product quality as a result of lacking professional cultivation skills.
In 2007, the local government approached Wuhan Botanical Garden under the Chinese Academy of Sciences for help. Researchers there then brought grafts of new varieties to Pujiang and started promoting them among local farmers. The farmland in the county at that time was still dominated by traditional crops, and local farmers were reluctant to change for fear of suffering losses.The researchers traveled through towns and villages and went door to door to promote the new varieties and planting skills. They also organized expert meetings and provided professional training to local farmers. “At first the villagers were skeptical because they knew nothing about these new varieties of kiwifruit. But after they visited our demonstration base, the locals finally accepted these new varieties,”said Wang Peng, one of the researchers working on the project.
The benefits were impressive. With the new varieties, each mu (15 mus are equal to 1 hectare) of land can produce as many as 2,000 kilograms and per mu income could reach 5,000 to 8,000 yuan. Now Pujiang has builtupthe largest modern kiwifruit cultivation demonstration base of over 10,000 mus, attracting more and more people to start business back home. “My elder brother even resigned his stable job and came back home to help me,” said Li Zhiqiang who owns a kiwifruit farm of 200 mus.
Luo Hongtao,the Party secretary of Jiuqu village of Fuxing town, does the math on kiwifruit cultivation. “Based on the current farming patterns, our per mu income could reach 5,000 to 8,000 yuan. After deducting the production costs, our net income could reach an impressive figure. Almost all poor households have now escaped from poverty through planting kiwifruits.”
China has set an ambitious goal of completely eradicating absolute poverty by 2020. Poverty-stricken areas in China are trying every means to offer help to the poor population, and advanced agricultural technologies and farming practices are key to providing targeted solutions to deep-rooted poverty. Pujiang county’s success fully shows the charm of agricultural technology, and also paves the way forward for people who are still living under the poverty line.
(Produced by "Aspire–Living Stories" team of China.org.cn)