Sci-tech experts help farmers achieve new growth

(Xinhua) 16:49, July 25, 2023

BEIJING, July 25 (Xinhua) -- In the small mountain village of Boyunling in central China's Henan Province, Liu Pingzhou, once reliant on the experience of generations of farmers before him, is now making new marks with his walnut trees.

Thanks to sci-tech experts sent to rural areas, old and new farmers are securing harvests, sharing their stories, and paving the way for future generations.

This month, the continuous high temperatures posed a potential threat to new walnut trees, prompting the sci-tech experts to visit Boyunling more frequently.

"I didn't listen to you before, did I?" giggled Liu Pingzhou as he spoke to an expert. "I'll do whatever you say, and this year's harvest will be much better than before," he added.

Bolstered by experience imparted by fathers, grandfathers and even great-grandfathers, the walnut farmers in Boyunling were not convinced when the sci-tech experts first came to the village.

The experts pointed out that walnut farming in Boyunling faced challenges such as single plant variety, low yield, and low added value. They started by persuading local walnut farmers to improve plant varieties, resulting in an increase in per capita income of around 1,500 yuan.

The walnut farmers responded to this success by changing their attitudes toward the experts. They now call them for help as soon as they are faced with challenges.

Currently, the experts are helping villagers transform barren mountain slopes into a fruit-picking garden featuring nine types of fruit trees, including cherry, pomegranate, hawthorn, apricot, plum, and jujube.

In the village of Xiajiang in Zhejiang Province, farming once seemed a largely fruitless pursuit. The arable land per capita in the village is less than 1 mu (about 0.07 hectares). The villagers had little confidence in farming 20 years ago. "Can 'gold nuggets' grow in this kind of land?" asked the villagers.

In 2003, Yu Xuping, an engineer from the Zhejiang traditional medicine research institute, went to Xiajiang as a sci-tech expert. "It is Mr. Yu who makes me realize that one can get a fortune by farming," said Jiang Yinxiang, a villager in Xiajiang.

Assisted by Yu, the villagers in Xiajiang started to plant herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Today, the per capita disposable income of the mountain village is 14.5 times higher than it was 20 years ago.

The city of Longquan in Zhejiang is rich in bamboo resources, with 610,000 acres of bamboo forest, but until recently the development of related industries there did not match the richness of the natural resources.

In 2015, the bamboo and wood industry in Longquan entered a critical stage of transformation and upgrading. Chen Siyu, a professor from Zhejiang Agriculture &Forestry University, was recruited as a special assistant to the mayor of Longquan, responsible for transformation, upgrading, and technological innovation in the bamboo and wood industry in the city.

After Chen's first term came to an end, more than 20 companies and factories wrote to Zhejiang A&F University, hoping to convince the university to let Chen stay in Longquan longer as their sci-tech expert.

Chen continues to work in the city today. He has collaborated with companies in applying for more than 20 patents and secured more than 60 million yuan in supporting funds, helping Longquan create a billion-yuan bamboo and wood industry.

The system of sending sci-tech experts to rural areas has strong vitality and extensive influence, said the Zhejiang provincial Party committee. The experts will continue to focus on the development needs of agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, spread advanced technologies, and cultivate industries that enrich the people.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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