Orange planting helps boost rural revitalization in Sichuan

By Zhang Liying
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 11, 2019
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A dish of golden oranges with sweet smell caught people's attention at a plenary meeting of deputies from Sichuan province during the ongoing second session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing on March 8.

Luo Jiaming, an NPC deputy and mayor of Meishan, Sichuan province, speaks at a provincial plenary meeting during the ongoing second session of the 13th NPC in Beijing on March 8, 2019. [Photo courtesy of the Publicity Office of the Meishan Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China]

Holding one in his hand, Meishan Mayor Luo Jiaming said the oranges were produced in the orchard of Huang Shucheng, a fruit farmer of Xingfu Village in Meishan's Danling County.

Luo, also a deputy to the 13th NPC, said previously there was no industry where people could earn a decent income in Xingfu Village, so most villagers, including Huang left their hometown in search of better jobs in big cities.

However, profound changes had taken place in recent years thanks to the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy, Luo said.

A photo shows late-maturing oranges planted in Meishan, Sichuan province. [Photo courtesy of the Publicity Office of the Meishan Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China]

As more policies were being introduced to boost agriculture, many villagers had returned, planting oranges and developing countryside tourism, which enables them to take care of their aged parents while earning a handsome income, he said.

Luo explained that Meishan was carrying out a project to expand the planting area of late-maturing oranges to 66,666 hectares, hoping to achieve an annual output of 10 billion yuan (about US$1.5 billion) and in turn help increase the incomes for about a million villagers in the area.

"Our support to farmers has covered almost all the aspects of the orange industry, from breeding the seedlings, orchard construction as well as brand building and marketing," he said.

Five districts or counties are helping poor households develop the industry of "Meishan Spring Orange," a brand covering a dozen quality late-maturing oranges, and a number of large-scale standardized orange industrial parks are emerging in the area, Luo said.

Huang Shucheng, a villager in Meishan, Sichuan province, is picking oranges in his orchard. [Photo courtesy of the Publicity Office of the Meishan Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China]

The orange planting areas in Meishan reached 65,333 hectares last year, creating an annual output of 8.6 billion yuan (about US$1.3 billion) and helping increase farmers' income by a per capita average of 2,100 yuan (about US$312.5).

In addition, Meishan is also stepping up its efforts on other fronts to implement the rural revitalization strategy, such as improving the living environment and revitalizing cultural activities in rural areas, Luo added.

Luo said that an international conference on the future of historic villages hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will be held in Meishan this year.

It will draw participants from around the world to discuss Sichuan's experience in rural revitalization and the ways to better promote the endeavor in China and also other parts of the world, he said.

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