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Farmer's Income Is No Longer a Chicken Feed
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Li Zhen, a farmer at Langen Village of Xinxing County in Yunfu of Guangdong Province, now has an annual income of 100,000 yuan (US$12,820) by raising chickens in the mountain valley thanks to the agreement with Wen's Group.

"Compared with others, we were sort of well-off family in the village," Li said.

Before 2002, her husband used to raise about 3,000 chickens at home while she worked in a village-run plant, earning about 1,000 yuan (US$128) a month. The family had an annual income of 20,000 yuan (US$2,560).

Things have changed since the second half of 2002 when Wen's Group, a big animal and husbandry company in Yunfu, advised them raising chickens on a large-scale basis.

Li resigned from her job and moved together with her husband into the valley to raise about 18,000 chickens. They raised chickens three to four batches in a year and their income grew to several thousand yuan.

Last year, with the help of Wen's Group and on market demand, they began raising chickens in cages to supply fresh chicken meat to Hong Kong. They earned about 100,000 yuan (US$12,820) the same year.

"My annual income now is worth those of several years in the past," Li said.

However, Li was not alone in making a change in her fortune.

In Xinxing County, more than 30,000 households joined the group to raise chickens and made an average profit of 23,700 yuan (US$3,038). But the scale of these households is not the largest. According to Huang Qiyuan, a manager of the service center of the Wen's Group, large-scale raisers could buy a sedan car with the income by selling chicken manures.

During the past five years, leading companies like Wen's Group developed into an inter-regional and inter-industrial enterprise group. There are many such enterprises in the province.

Statistics from the provincial statistics bureau indicated that the output value of the first industry was 98.9 billion yuan (US$12.68 billion) in 2001 and soared to 157.1 billion yuan (US$20.14 billion) in 2006, representing an increase of 1.59 times.

All this should be contributed to the scientific development outlook that centered on economic construction, said Zhang Dejiang, Party secretary of the Guangdong Committee of Communist Party of China, during the deliberation of Premier Wen Jiabao's government work report when he was in Beijing during the 10th National People's Congress earlier this month.

"Economic development is the priority of social progress," he said. "(Guangdong) should show a new industrialized path where the products have high content of technology, good economic efficiency, low resource-consuming and environment-friendly so as to realize overall coordinated and sustainable development."

In 2001, the province started shifting its focus on pushing forward economic growth by transforming ways of economic growth. As a result, the province took the top slot in the country in terms of economic growth. In five years, the province registered a growth from 1.204 trillion yuan (US$154.35 billion) in 2001 to 2.6 trillion yuan (US$333 billion) in 2006.

(China Daily HK Edition March 30, 2007)

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