China’s last poverty-stricken villagers relocated in town, provided with jobs
Reaping joy
Published: Dec 10, 2020 07:31 PM
Lu Lin, 38, commutes to work every day by bus, but unlike most urban workers he does not head downtown. Lu works on a farm that grows sweet potatoes in summer and broccoli in winter.

Lu and thousands of his coworkers are known as the "commuting farmers" in Ziyun county, Guizhou Province. His job represents the country's latest poverty relief efforts.

China has eradicated absolute poverty at the end of 2020 according to the national plan, and all 832 registered poor counties have shaken off poverty.

Ziyun county has officially announced the eradication of extreme poverty on November 23 along with eight other counties in Guizhou. These are China's last nine counties that eliminated absolute poverty.

Over the past few years, more than 4,862 households involving 20,213 people who lived in poverty have been relocated in the county as part of China's poverty reduction campaign. They moved to new apartments in town from their old houses that were either dilapidated or in remote mountains or both. 

The government provided the apartments equipped with tidy public areas, fountains, clean drinking water and charging-piles for electronic bikes.

To provide employment for those who were relocated to have better living conditions but still under the poverty line, Ziyun county launched the "commuting farmers" project, arranging work for them on farms.

Lu and his wife Chen Li both work on the same farm. Together they make around 77,000 yuan ($11,773) annually.

"It's the best arrangement," Lu told the Global Times. "We are used to being busy… People here are happy to work together and make some money."

The couple and their three daughters said they enjoy better education, healthcare and living conditions in town. 

"Working on farms is also a social activity for those relocated people who left their communities in villages and feel lonely in town," said Wang Bin, Party secretary of Xingfuyuan village, which runs the farm Lu works on. 

The 6,000-hectare agricultural base of Xingfuyuan, 20 minutes by bus from Ziyun, can create an output of 30 million yuan annually and provide job opportunities for more than 500 farmers, according to Wang. Their products are sold in big cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province.

Over the past 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, more than 700 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty, contributing to more than 70 percent of global poverty reduction.

A woman who is a commuting farmer is ready to return home after a day of work in the agricultural base of Xingfuyuan, Ziyun county of Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Commuting farmers take a bus to go back home after a day's work. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Lu Lin's family enjoys dinner at their new home provided by the government in Ziyun county. Photo: Li Hao/GT

A commuting farmer takes care of broccoli plants. Photo: Li Hao/GT


Lu's family Photo: Li Hao/GT