Guangxi Puts Focus on Rural Poverty Relief

November 20, 2019Share
By Yuan ShenggaoEditor: Ling Xiao
Pupils at a school in Long’an County of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region pose for a group photo. The school was built for children from poor families who moved from areas of desertification as part of government poverty relief efforts. [For China Daily]
Residents from poor families in Xingye County of Guangxi receive free medical services at a charitable event organized by the local government. [For China Daily/He Shaofeng]
A woman throws feed for chickens at Dahua County of Guangxi. Local villagers have shaken off poverty by joining the chicken raising business. [For China Daily/Qin Chujun]

Government spares no efforts to improve welfare and increase incomes for the impoverished.

At Wanwei village in Dongxing, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in early November, groups of fishermen are busy casting their nets, pulling in their hauls and sorting their catches ready to take to market.

Such scenes are not uncommon during harvest season at the 200-hectare fish breeding base, which has been a tremendous boon for the once poverty-affected villagers.

Li Xiaowu, general manager of Dongxing Marine Fishery Development, told Guangxi Daily that the breeding base can produce 4 metric tons of fish annually, selling at an average price of 18 yuan ($2.56) per kilogram.

“Customers from Nanning and Liuzhou ordered 2 tons of our fish from this harvest,” Li said. “We invite villagers, especially those from poor families, to help us and share our experiences.”

Dongxing is located at the southern area of China, near Vietnam. Its rich marine resources provide an opportunity for the area to develop and grow its fisheries.

The city currently has three fishery companies, six food processing companies and four cooperatives. Major products include white shrimp, groupers, oysters and loaches. In 2018, the per capita annual income of villagers in the area was 23,635 yuan, ranking first among rural residents in Guangxi, data from the local government showed.

Du’an County in Hechi used to be one of the four poorest counties in Guangxi. However, their efforts in developing agriculture business, specifically animal husbandry, have changed lives.

Villager Lan Rongjin bought a calf from the local government in 2015. After it was fully grown, weighing in at 600 kg, he sold it, making him a net profit of 5,000 yuan.

Wei Ke used to plant corn to make his living — corn is one of the only crops that can be grown on his land. The annual income from his corn yield was between 17 to 20 yuan per hectare. He also joined the animal husbandry project, raising 18 cows fed with his corn. Wei now has an annual net profit reaching 100,000 yuan.

The government’s animal husbandry project has expanded to slaughter, processing, logistics and cold chain, with the cows sold to customers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Changsha.

It has become a mini industry of Du’an County. Some 3,000 tons of beef will be sold this year, officials said, helping 17,600 poor families to shake off poverty.

Similar stories are becoming commonplace in Guangxi.

At the end of 2015, Guangxi ranked fourth in terms of the number of poor populations nationwide — at 4.52 million, or 10.5 percent of its total population at that time. Today, it has helped 3.25 million people, 3,451 poor villages and 25 poor counties tackle poverty, reducing its incidence to 3.7 percent.

In Quanzhou County of Guilin, poverty reduction was implemented with a digital angle. The county is a pilot region for e-commerce development nationwide. It has opened online and offline stores selling local specialties such as rice, tea and rice noodles. Sales of 54 kinds of products have brought an extra income of 1,100 yuan per person for 107 poor families.

The county has also cooperated with China Telecom with people donating more than 10 yuan to the county receiving a rebate on their phone bill. Those that donate can also receive discounts when staying at hotels in the county.

As of October 30, registered members of the county’s official poverty relief website numbered 316,000 with more than 735,000 yuan donated so far. This experience has been shared nationwide at forums and conferences by Quanzhou officials.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.