Inter-government partnership key to poverty alleviation in Guangxi

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"I spent much of my earnings as a migrant worker paying for the travel expenses from my workplace to the rural hometown where my parents and children reside," says Huang Jingwei, a famer of Banhong village of Gantian, Leye county in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, currently working in a kiwi fruit orchard in Gantian.

While packaging the fruit, Huang relates how both he and his wife were working in the orchard, a poverty alleviation project jointly funded by local government and the Yantian district government of Shenzhen; his five-person family also run their own orchard covering an area of 2.5 mu (0.17 hectares). "Meeting daily expenses is no longer a concern now," says Huang with obvious satisfaction.

Leye used to be an impoverished county. At the end of 2015, a total of 27.73 percent of the 179,000-strong population lived under the national poverty line - less than $1.5 per capita per day on average. Thanks to Yantian's help, the county has now largely bid farewell to poverty.

The Huang family is an epitome of how district governments from Shenzhen is helping to lift the population of a distant spot out of poverty by developing special agricultural planting and husbandry in various counties in Guangxi, to which they were assigned to form a one-on-one partnership.

Similar stories are also common in Longlin and Xilin counties of Guangxi, which are poverty alleviation assistance targets of the Luohu district government.

"Picking tea-leaves can increase my monthly income by about 3,000 yuan ($424)," explains Tao Decai, a farmer of Sanchong village of Longlin, and a part-time picker in local tea gardens. His family also operate a small tea garden of their own, selling the output to tea companies that come in the harvest season.

"Life is easier now," Tao adds.

Sanchong used to be one of the 88 poverty-stricken villages in Longlin. Due to Luohu's assistance, the village poverty rate dropped from 38 percent in 2014 to 1.65 percent in 2019.

The village perches high on the mountain slopes 1,680 meters above sea level, making it an ideal place to grow tea.

According to Tao Dewu, general manager of the Longlin Sanchong Tea Company, the village now has more than 5,000 mu of tea plantations, producing more than 100 tons of tea a year, and creating jobs for 110 impoverished families, encouraging over 400 families in nearby villages to plant tea as well.

Huang Jianji, deputy director of the poverty alleviation partnership office of Longlin said Sanchong village will cooperate with tea companies, knowing they will purchase their output, so that the farmers will have a stable income.

Tao Dewu said his company will seek to combine tea culture with Longlin's ethnic culture to build characteristic tea gardens on the mountainsides to attract tourists.

It is the funding of Luohu that has made the tea industry a success in Sanchong, and also made rural tourism in the village flourish.

A tourism project encompassing tea culture, Miao ethnic culture and ecology was created in Xiaoyuntun of Sanchong, with total investment of 2.86 million yuan. A total of 103 villagers from 24 impoverished families in the community benefit from the project. Moreover, their houses and the community's overall infrastructure has also been renovated as part of the tourism project.

Resident Tao Denfeng said villagers found planting tea more rewarding than planting trees, so they quickly changed their thinking, and the increase of income has brought about many positive changes to the community.

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