Mutellip Toxtiroza, 24, works as an electrician and welder at the Jinken Farming Group in Yutian, a county in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, northwest China, but plans to start his own business (ZHAO WEI)
When the Jinken Farming Group, a subsidiary of state-owned enterprise (SOE) Tianjin Food Group, set up shop in Yutian, a county in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in 2018, local boy Mutellip Toxtiroza was one of their recruits.
Mutellip, then 22, was hired as a guard and in fewer than six months, had impressed his bosses with his initiative.
“Our company’s main business is mutton sheep production,” said Chen Yuechao, deputy general manager of the company. “Once, the manure cleaning machine for the shed stopped working. He saw and came to help. He went underneath the machine and found the chain was broken. There was hardly enough space for him underneath and it was dirty. Still he did it though it was not even his job.”
Chen found the young man keenly interested in mechanical maintenance and made him a technical staff responsible for electrical and mechanical maintenance. He excelled at the job and one year later, after training, became a certified electrician and welder. Now he provides training to seven apprentices, one of whom is almost twice his age.
“I had a dream of doing something significant, but I had no money or technical training,” Mutellip said. “When I came to work as a guard, I earned 1,500 yuan ($220) per month. Now I have a skill and my salary has almost doubled with a bonus.”
His family has benefited from the company as well.
They are sheep breeders and when Mutellip saw the company introducing a pedigreed sheep breed from Australia, he suggested to his father to follow suit since the imported sheep breeds and grows faster. But his father scoffed at the idea.
“When I heard about the disagreement, I went to his home and had a conversation with his father,” said Yang Jianli, general manager of the company. “I told him I could offer him a few ewes for free, then he could try and make his decision.”
The trial worked and the Mutellip family became one of Yang’s first six pilot sheep breeders in the town.
Sheep breeding in Yutian, improved by the Jinken Farming Group, creates jobs and economic prosperity for locals (ZHAO WEI)
To help local farmers, the company has introduced a “Free Ewes and Paid Lambs” scheme. Under the scheme, the company offers free ewes to poor families and provides technical support to ensure three births per ewe in two years, and then buys one lamb born to each ewe back while the farmer keeps the rest.
“One single ewe brings an average of 802 yuan ($117) annually to a poor household,” Yang said. “It’s a win-win and shows how SOEs are shouldering responsibility for poverty alleviation.”
Today the Mutellips have more than 100 mutton sheep, and Mutellips’s brother is studying professional breeding technology in the company.
According to Yang, this year, the company raised 63,000 sheep. It gave direct employment to more than 6,000, whose average yearly earnings were 24,000 yuan ($3,516) per person. It helped nearly 2,500 poor families out of poverty.
Mutellips expects more changes in the coming days.
Because of his excellent work, the company wants to promote him but he wants to start his own business next year. Armed with his new certificate, he plans to open a repair shop.
“The income may not be as stable as what I have now, but to have my own business is more attractive. I want to be my own boss,” the ambitious Toxtiroza said with a smile.
Yang said the company will support whatever decision he takes.
“We want everyone here to have a good life. Helping local people to develop their talent is an important part of poverty alleviation,” he said.
(Reporting from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region)
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