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A Sweet Undertaking
A kiwi fruit orchard makes life more beautiful for locals in Miluo Township, Shuicheng County of Guizhou Province
By Wang Hairong | NO. 40-41 OCTOBER 5, 2017

A kiwi orchard in Miluo Township of Shuicheng County in Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province (WANG HAIRONG)

Rows upon rows of concrete poles are neatly arrayed along a hillside in Miluo Township. Beside the poles stand kiwi trees, about two meters tall, whose branches spread out along a wire net knitted at the top of the poles, giving the scene the resemblance of a vineyard.

The kiwi orchard is also a poverty alleviation project in Shuicheng County of Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province.

Green, egg-sized, oval kiwi fruits hide beneath dense leaves, escaping the attention of unskilled eyes. "Here they are," said Xie Mengjie, Deputy Secretary of the Miluo Township Committee of the Communist Party of China, pointing at two kiwi fruits that he finally spotted. As kiwi fruits mature in summer, by September, most of those in the orchard have already been harvested, he said.

Kiwi fruits grown by an orchard in Miluo Township of Shuicheng County in Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province, are served to visitors on September 10 (WANG HAIRONG)

In the past, corn was grown in the field, which could only fetch a meager income. In recent years, Miluo Township has encouraged the cultivation of more economically profitable agricultural products such as kiwi fruits, walnuts and tea, to implement the central authorities call to "turn green mountains and clear water into mountains of gold and silver." Reform is being carried out "to transform resources into assets, funds into shares and farmers into stockholders."

The township has 34,566 residents in five villages, half of whom belong to minority ethnic groups. Currently, nearly one fourth of all the residents still live in poverty.

A man picks kiwi fruits in an orchard in Miluo Township of Shuicheng County in Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province, on September 10 (WANG HAIRONG)

In recent years, some villagers have shaken off poverty by working in the kiwi orchard. Wang Shunyou, a resident of Ejia Village, used to plant corn and yam, making only around 2,500 yuan ($382) a year. With a 70-plus-year-old mother and two school-age children to support, Wang also had to work odd jobs elsewhere.

After the kiwi orchard was established, he started to work there. Gradually, he became a skilled worker and then a supervisor, making 36,000 yuan ($5,500) a year. In 2016, he received nearly 100,000 yuan ($15,280) from the project's management company, which in addition to his salary included dividends from the land he invested in the company in return for shares. With the money, he bought a car.

"Although it took painstaking efforts to pool land together, now seeing the stretches of kiwi and walnut trees and scores of people working there every day, I feel relieved," said Zhang Dingrong, Party chief of Ejia Village. In 2015, Ejia was moved out of the list of poor villages in the county.

Copyedited by Bryan Michael Galvan 

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