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Poverty eradication program benefits farmers
Latest Updated by 2006-05-15 09:55:42
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A new house and a tractor-tricycle seemed like an unobtainable dream to Wang Zhengyi, a farmer in a poverty-ridden northwest China Loess Plateau village, just two years ago.

But Wang, who lives in Lianxing Village, Dingxi City -- one of the country's poorest regions -- says the bad old days are gone.

"I have rebuilt my house and bought a tractor-tricycle for farm work," he says.

It's a far cry from the days of burning turf for cooking because he could afford neither timber nor coal. "Now I use methane gas and the environment is much cleaner."

Wang raises cattle and sheep, and cultivates potatoes for a living -- going to market on the new road leading from his doorstep.

The improvements are the result of the central government's "whole village poverty eradication program" introduced in 2001 to provide the country's 26.1 million poor with adequate food, clothing and housing.

The program's general targets include: one source of steady income per household; at least one laborer per household trained in a skill other than farming; construction of transport infrastructure; healthcare and leisure facilities as well as compulsory education for all school-age children.

Shen Guowei, chief of the poverty eradication office of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province, says the whole village poverty eradication program has proved to be relatively effective.

"The will of the farmers is respected in the implementation of the program, which inspires enthusiasm in shaking off poverty," says Shen. "Farmers can find new ways of making a living by participating in the program."

Wang Xuewen, secretary of the Lianxing Village committee of the Communist Party of China, says Lianxing was given 1.2 million yuan (147,966 U.S. dollars) in program funding, including 700,000 yuan from the central government.

In accordance with the will of the villagers, the money was spent on the construction of new roads, schoolhouses, a clinic, exercise and leisure facilities, 150 shelters for cattle and sheep, procurement of breeding stock, and of seed for pasture grass and potatoes.

Each household was also offered a subsidy of 1,200 yuan to build a methane gas pond.

Thanks to improvements, farmers participating in the program have all witnessed significant increases in income.

At Taiping Village, also in Dingxi City, where the program was introduced in 2002, per capita net income of farmers exceeded 3,000 yuan last year, compared with 1,088 yuan in 2001.

To date, the program has been implemented in 45,000 villages across the country, with encouraging results in all of them.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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