Agriculture ministry pledges firm support to Xinjiang, works to reduce poverty

By Liu Xin in Urumqi and Shen Weiduo in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/4 19:18:40

Nation works to reduce poverty, increase income for local people

A man holds a box of apples in Aksu, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The apples are produced in Aksu and branded and packaged with support of a work team from Quzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Ren Hao  

Beijing will take "unconventional measures" and strengthen agricultural support to Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, especially poverty-stricken areas such as southern Xinjiang, in an effort to reduce poverty and promote local social stability and long-term stability in the region, according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA). 

The statement, which was posted on the ministry's official website on Thursday, noted that the MARA will strengthen support in targeted areas such as sustainable development of Xinjiang's agriculture sector and further promote specialized industries in the region and those that have comparative advantages.

"We will enhance the level of agricultural industrialization, increase the intensity of scientific and technological talent to assist Xinjiang, help rural areas in Xinjiang to revitalize, and strive to promote new breakthroughs in agricultural aid work in Xinjiang," read the statement.

Support for the agriculture sector has been ongoing for some time in Xinjiang, and it has yielded real benefits for local people. Work teams from all over the country are providing agricultural experience and knowhow to local people.

For instance, Quzhou of East China's Zhejiang has helped Wushi county in Aksu Prefecture for years. 

Aksu, along with Kashi, Hotan, and the Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu in southern Xinjiang, is among the poorest areas in China. The four regions had more than 1.6 million people living under the poverty line as of the end of 2017, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Ren Hao, a member of the work team from Quzhou that's supporting Xinjiang, told the Global Times on Thursday that Quzhou has paid great attention to helping the development of local agricultural activity. 

"We help each county to cultivate its own brand on one kind of agricultural product or fruit. We cooperate with local governments in promoting the processing and sale of the fruit within and outside Xinjiang," Ren said.

Since 2017, the work team of Quzhou has invested 14.5 million yuan ($2.11 million) in helping Yimamu town to build processing plants for black fungus, according to a release sent by Ren to the Global Times, as Zhejiang is famous for its technology in cultivating black fungus. 

So far in 2019, the work team has cooperated with the Wushi government to launch 19 planting areas for fungus. This effort involves 1,305 poverty-stricken households.

By cooperating with local governments in Aksu, 80 shops selling local products of different counties in Aksu, including walnuts, lamb and wine, have opened in Quzhou, bringing more than 100 million yuan of sales, according to Ren.

This program also offered jobs to more than 500 residents in Aksu, each of whom earns more than 40,000 yuan a year. More than 20,000 farming and herding households in Wushi county have benefited from the program. 

Apart from agricultural support, under a program known as "pairing assistance," other provinces and municipalities across the country could also offer financial and personnel support to Xinjiang, build new infrastructure and fund local industries, according to Xinhua.

Xinjiang in May introduced a new type of apprenticeship system for enterprises, to cultivate more knowledgeable, skilled and innovative workers.

In 2018, a total of 537,000 people were lifted out of poverty in Xinjiang.

The poverty-reduction drive in Xinjiang is also part of a broader push by China to tackle deep-rooted rural poverty and eliminate poverty nationwide by 2020. 

Newspaper headline: Agriculture ministry extends firm support to Xinjiang


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