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Southern Xinjiang makes remarkable achievements in poverty alleviation

By Yang Mingfang, Li Yanan, Ardak (People's Daily)    09:13, October 17, 2019

The four prefectures in the southern part of northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Aksu, Kashgar, Hotan, and Kizilsu Kirgiz, which are among the areas of extreme poverty in China, have witnessed positive progress in their fight against poverty in recent years.

Photo taken on May 10, 2019 shows women work at a village-run garment factory in Toibouledy village, Toibouledy township, Shaya county of Asku Prefecture. (Photo by Yu Liudong)

The cost of poverty alleviation in the four prefectures is high and poverty alleviation task is difficult because the 22 counties suffering from extreme poverty in Xinjiang are located here.

Nevertheless, in recent years, the four prefectures have achieved positive results in poverty alleviation through such means as relocating people from inhospitable areas to better living conditions, stabilizing employment and developing industries.

The family of Qimanguli used to live in Jiageda village, Yingwustan township, Bachu county of Kashgar Prefecture. The village has very little arable land, which is insufficient to feed all the people there.

“In the past, my family of four lived in a wooden barrack which could hardly protect us from the rain,” said Qimanguli, adding that what really made her feel helpless was that she and her husband had no stable source of income or land for farming.

“After all, we can’t live on the subsistence allowances for our whole lives,” said Qimanguli.

Fortunately, since April 2017, Bachu county started to relocate villagers living in remote areas and villages with poor infrastructure, as well as those who were suffering from lack of land or low land yield to areas near the center of the county. In January 2018, Qimanguli and her family moved into a new 68-square-meter house.

In June of that year, Qimanguli started to work at a garment factory near her community. Thanks to her diligence and hard work, she is now head of a work team in the factory. “Look, I just got paid yesterday, and it’s nearly 3,000 yuan (about $422.89),” Qimanguli said with pride.

According to credible source, 30,000 people in the four prefectures of southern Xinjiang had been relocated to better areas in 2018, and another 19,000 people were relocated by the end of September this year, indicating the completion of the three-year relocation task.

The local government has combined the relocation areas with the construction of modern agricultural development bases and industrial parks, and strengthened follow-up efforts to support the integrated development of the areas.

So far, 1,010 covered pens, 507 greenhouses with supporting facilities and 14 satellite factories have been built in the relocation areas of the four prefectures, enabling the relocated people to find jobs in nearby enterprises.

At the same time, local governments have made efforts to perfect the infrastructure and public service facilities in order to improve the sense of gain of the relocated people and help them blend in with the new environment.

Since the beginning of this year, the four prefectures in southern Xinjiang have made continuous efforts to promote stable employment, improve the organization of labor services, expand the coverage of poverty alleviation tasks, and increase the income of the impoverished population through multiple channels.

Up to now, 59,000 people from poor families have been newly employed in an organized way, and the plan for transferring and helping 100,000 people secure jobs has been fully implemented.

Besides, the local government has provided training for a total of 128,500 person-times of people from poor families this year, with 42,700 people finding jobs in enterprises and more than 5,300 people having started their own businesses.

“Thanks to the drying rooms built by the poverty alleviation officials from the bureau of ecology and environment of Xinjiang at the beginning of this year, we could make one kilogram of dried apricots from three kilograms of fresh apricots,” said a villager in Aksu.

He said his family has seen an extra 5,000 yuan from dried apricots, which are sold for 20 yuan per kilogram. In previous years when fresh apricots were sold to processing plants, a kilogram of the fruit was worth less than one yuan.

The total area of fruit trees in Aksu is 4.5 million mu (about 0.3 million hectares), and the area of trees bearing fruits is about 4.1 million mu, said an official of the poverty relief office of Aksu.

Planting fruit trees has become a major channel for farmers and herdsmen to get rid of poverty and increase income, said the official. By the end of 2017, there were 136 impoverished villages in the region, among which 127 were engaged in fruit trees cultivation, the official said.

However, due to the lack of technology, investment and management expertise, the yield of fruit trees was 30 percent lower than that of other crops.

Since the beginning of this year, local government of Aksu has signed the impoverished households up for skill training, and a total of 19,657 households have benefited from the practice.

“We will strive to increase the local fruit production by 10 to 15 percent each year and increase household income by 2,000 to 3,000 yuan on average,” said the official.

In recent years, the four prefectures in southern Xinjiang have intensified efforts to upgrade featured industries, promote improved varieties, improve the quality and efficiency of fruit industry and popularize large-scale breeding of livestock and poultry. They have created a high-quality and efficient development path of their own.

Up to now, 25,446 arched sheds for crop and plant cultivation have been built in the four prefectures, helping motivate 238,000 poor households to develop courtyard economy and featured crops. The featured crops in the region now cover 529,000 mu (35,267 hectares).

Moreover, the four prefectures have spent 740 million yuan on improving the quality and efficiency of the characteristic fruit and crop industries such as walnut, red date, and grape. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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