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Across China: Agricultural modernization reduces rural poverty

DATE:2015-02-26       SOURCE:Xinhua News Agency

YAN' AN, Shaanxi, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Miao Yuchun, a farmer from Zichang County in northwest China's Loess Plateau, never imagined he would have a life of financial stability.


The 33-year-old man was forced to drop out of high school due to poverty, and a botched attempt at growing tomatoes left him penniless, driving him to look for work in the city.


However, Miao could not forget his farming roots, even when he was doing well in the city.


Three years ago, inspired by organic soilless cultivation, he returned to his hometown to grow strawberries.


He enrolled on technical training programs organized by the local government, consulted with experienced farmers, and explored ways of improving his crops so they could meet "green product" standards.


Miao's organic farm last year earned him 500,000 yuan (about 81,460 U.S. dollars) and he employed 15 people.


The government is encouraging more farmers to follow Miao's path out of poverty through agricultural modernization, helping farmers change to either industrial, intensive farming or organic, sustainable agriculture.


Top policymakers have called for more efforts to modernize agriculture, boost farmers' consumption and spur rural investment.


In response, the central government earlier this month, pledged to develop agriculture with a balanced emphasis on quality and quantity rather than high output, which comes at the cost of resource depletion.


It also promised to boost policies that would benefit farmers, deepen rural reforms and strengthen the rule of law in rural issues.


The Communist Party of China's (CPC) flagship magazine "Qiushi" last Monday published an article by Premier Li Keqiang that advocated agricultural modernization.


Li wrote that agricultural modernization could stabilize economic growth and promote structural transformation.


Tian Guangping, a sweet potato farmer in Ganguyi Town, Yan'an City, could benefit from the push.


With techniques passed through generations and soil particularly suited to sweet potatoes, Tian made 90,000 yuan last year from a half hectare plot of rented land.


However, Tian has big dreams. The government in his town plans to launch a 24-hectare organic sweet potato farm. He hopes to be involved in the project so his sweet potatoes can be labeled "green products", as the domestic market is preoccupied with food safety concerns.

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