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Farmers striving for prosperous life despite floods

(Xinhua)    15:07, August 24, 2020

HEFEI, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- The grape harvest season this year was a hard time for Teng Zhifei, a 28-year-old grape grower in east China's Anhui Province.

Teng, a farmer in Gaoguan village in Hexian County, suffered losses as incessant rains earlier this summer had damaged his grapevines and slashed the grape yields.

Teng's family was listed among poverty-stricken families in 2014. Teng returned from the southern metropolis of Shenzhen to his hometown to take care of his parents in 2017 and the family shook off poverty after taking up grape plantation that year.

The family faced the risks of returning to poverty this year, but a local non-profit e-commerce platform helped Teng out.

"I used to sell grapes in the countryside. This year, I started selling on an e-commerce platform. The prices are higher and I can sell more quickly," said Teng. He has earned over 10,000 yuan (about 1,445 U.S. dollars) by selling 1,700 kg of grapes on the platform, which helped to boost his confidence.

Zhu Ping, head of the local e-commerce platform, said the platform helps place orders for farm produce from local poverty-stricken households. "Through concerted efforts, we believe that they can finally get over the disaster."

Local authorities have dispatched officials to visit all poverty-stricken households to assess their losses from the rain-triggered disasters, said Li Ancheng, head of the county's poverty alleviation office.

Authorities have offered free crop and vegetable seedlings to poor families, and helped 278 households tackle problems in their businesses, said Li.

Anhui was affected by severe floods this summer. In order to prevent residents from slipping back into poverty due to the floods, the provincial government has rolled out a spate of policies in terms of industry development, employment and consumption to cushion the impact of the floods and lift all remaining poor households out of poverty by the end of 2020.

The number of rural poor people under China's current poverty line dropped from 98.99 million at the end of 2012 to 5.51 million by the end of 2019. The government has vowed to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of this year.

After the floodwaters receded in a flood diversion zone in Anhui's Funan County, local agricultural authorities have handed seeds and vegetable seedlings to farmers for free and provided them with farming technology guidance to help mitigate economic losses.

In Changlinhe Township in the provincial capital of Hefei, 14 residents of Luojiatuan village are listed as poverty-stricken.

The local government hands out a monthly living allowance of 724 yuan to each of the 14 poor people and the allowance keeps rising each year, said Chen Zhen, a township government official.

The township has sent workers to check houses of the poor and make timely repairs if there are any safety risks, Chen said.

"We have also created public service jobs and helped flood-affected residents file insurance claims and apply for disaster-relief funds to prevent them from slipping back into poverty," said Chen.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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