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World Bank-funded Ecological Program Improves Farmers' Lives
Farmers of Jungar Banner, in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, have found their lives improved gradually by a World Bank-funded program designed to improve local environment and help them get ride of poverty.

The first phase of the World Bank-loaned project started in 1994 and was completed in 2001. More than 88 million yuan (US$10.6 million) were used to harness 282 sq km of sandy waste land, according to Lu Jikuan, an official in charge of the implementation of the World Bank program.

With local environment being improved, the per capita acreage of irrigated farmland in Jungar Banner had risen from former less than 0.067 hectares to 0.2 hectares by 2001. Per capita income increased by 1,200 yuan (US$145), according to Lu.

The World Bank-funded water and soil conservation project covers 37 banners and counties in four western China's provinces and autonomous regions including Inner Mongolia and Gansu Province.

The second phase project, with a total investment of 50 million yuan (US$6.05 million) is expected to be completed before the end of the year. At present, more than 20 water conservancy projects have constructed in the project areas.

Improved infrastructure facilities enable local farmers to readjust their industrial structure, by which they can explore more ways to increase income.

In Dalu Township of Jungar Banner, more than 6,000 people used World Bank loans to plant trees and grass, build dams, develop irrigated farmland and breed aquatics.

Among these people, farmers of Dagou village used World Bank loans to dig wells and build shelters for growing vegetables. By so doing, their per capita income increased by more than 1,000 yuan (US$120) on a yearly basis.

(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2003)

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