Farmer Zhan Guangren feeds chickens in Liangdufeng Chicken Farm on September 12 (WANG HAIRONG)
At the foot of karst hills, beneath a crystal-clear azure sky, lies a large meadow dotted with red-roofed and white-walled miniature enclosures and wild flowers dipping and swaying in the breeze. Wave after wave of rooster calls break the tranquility of the valley.
The location is the Liangdufeng Chicken Farm in Qinglin Township under Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province. It was established in February 2017 to alleviate poverty in the area.
Currently, around 10,000 chickens live on the farm, while approximately 10,000 processed chickens it produced have been sold to customers including supermarkets, schools, hospitals and government departments, said Zhao Zerong, manager of Liupanshui's Zhongshan District Property Management and Service Co. Ltd., a state-owned company founded to run government-funded poverty alleviation projects.
Zhao said the site used to be a waste dump before the company carried out ecological restoration and built the chicken farm.
Technological support for the farm is provided by Liu Huagui, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. "I searched for information about chicken feeding online, and I found Liu," Zhao said. Zhao then called Liu to request help, and Liu agreed.
Farmers are encouraged to invest their land, money, and labor in the farm in return for dividends, rental income and salary, Zhao said. It is expected that the entire project will lift 800 people in 200-plus households out of poverty, according to the Liupanshui Bureau of Poverty Alleviation and Development.
Lu Fengjun, an impoverished resident of Haifa Village, makes 60 yuan ($9.15) per day working at the farm feeding chickens. That salary is the major source of income for Lu's family, which also receives around 3,000 yuan ($457.7) per year for leasing land to the farm.
Liangdufeng Chicken Farm in Shuicheng County of Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province (WANG HAIRONG)
Lu's home is located right beside a highway meandering through scenic karst hills. His home is accessed from the highway by walking down a very steep, grit-strewn slope. Roads in the small village are narrow and muddy.
From the outside, his two-story house looks no different from other buildings in the village, except that the windows on the first floor have plastic rather than glass panes, whereas those on the second floor have no pane at all.
It was dark inside the house. On a bed in the corner of a room with unpainted brick walls and simple furniture sat Lu's wife, Zhang Caimei.
"My wife and I were both injured in a traffic accident while riding a motorcycle," Lu said. That happened when the couple was working in Shuicheng County of Liupanshui transporting goods.
Lu was partially crippled in the accident, while his wife was disabled and could no longer work. They both lost their jobs. The couple has three school-age children and lives with two of their parents. The family of seven had fallen into destitution.
But since the chicken farm was launched and Lu started working there, the family's condition has improved.
Lu Fengjun receives a phone call at home in Haifa Village in Shuicheng County of Liu Panshui City, Guizhou Province, on September 12 (WANG HAIRONG)
Currently in Guizhou 3.72 million people, or approximately 10 percent of the total population, still live in poverty, according to the Guizhou Poverty Alleviation and Development Office. The province, in response to the Central Government's call, has made various endeavors to eliminate poverty. Last year, it successfully lifted 1.2 million people out of poverty, including 734,000 who became self-sufficient by producing specialty agricultural products or engaging in other industries.
As an old Chinese saying goes, give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Guizhou attaches importance to poverty alleviation by developing the agriculture, manufacturing, commerce, tourism and forestry industries wherever appropriate in light of resource endowments and market needs.
The province emphasizes the production of specialty agricultural products such as herbal medicine, tea, vegetables, nuts, potatoes, oil-bearing crops, and beef and mutton, as well as the development of rural tourism and restoration of ecosystems, according to the Guizhou Poverty Alleviation and Development Office.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period, the province plans to move 2.05 million, or around 40 percent of its 4.93 million impoverished people, out of poverty through developing various industries. The chicken farm in Qinglin is part of the endeavors to achieve this goal.
Copyedited by Bryan Michael Galvan
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