Farmers in Northwest China Fight Desert With Clover

The people in Hotan County in southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has vowed to plant 67, 000 hectares (about 165,500 acres) of clover pasture to protect their home and farmland, which are facing the danger of the moving Taklimakan Desert, the largest in China.

The local government has made a plan to develop 267,000 hectares of land for growing grain, cotton, trees and pastures before 2010, among which pastures are of vital importance because they maintain a protective function.

A local carpet maker invested one million yuan to develop a 133-hectare desert, and some 47 hectares of desert has been transformed into pastures and orchards.

The 1.6 million people in the county rely mainly on farm production. However, it has only 173,000 hectares of farmland in an oasis, or 0.11 hectares for each person.

“We have to expand farmland in the desert, and planting clover can provide protective means and feed for sheep,” a top official said.

Farmers expected sufficient forage grass would enable the county to raise as many as 3 million sheep in 2005, and produce enough wool to weave 500,000 square meters of carpets that help farmers increase income substantially.

For its achievements in controlling the desert, the county was praised by the United Nations Environment Program in 1989.

(People’s Daily 07/16/2001)

In This Series

16 National Nature Reserves Established

Worsening Environment, a Challenge to Chinese People

Reversing Desertification

Plan to Protect Environment Outlined

Environment Proves to Be Top Public Consideration

Tree Belt for World’s Longest Desert Highway


Exploring Opportunities in the Desert


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