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Land once barren is bringing prosperity

By CAO ZINAN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-14 08:29
An aerial photo of the fish and shrimp breeding base in Jiangping town, Dongxing city, in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINADAILY

Seen from the sky, the fish and shrimp breeding base in Jiangping town, Dongxing city in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, is a color palette, crisscrossing and extending all the way to the sea.

Covering an area of more than 200 hectares, the breeding base is divided into hundreds of different ponds.

Thanks to Dongxing's location at the mouth of the Beilun River, where saltwater and freshwater merge, the water is rich in nutrients, attracting a variety of fish and shrimp.

The shrimp are sold not only in Guangxi but in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces and other parts of China, while most of the fish are shipped by sea to Europe and the United States.

But not long ago, this place was just useless land with saline soil. It had been deserted for decades. Now, it helps farmers in Jiangping earn a per capita net income of at least 15,400 yuan ($2,200) per year, 30 percent higher than all of Dongxing city on average.

Several years ago, through land transfers, Jiangyuan Aquaculture Co rented farmland in Tanji, Wanwei and 11 other nearby villages for renovation. It implemented a new approach-"company + farming base + farmers"-increasing the income of each poor household by about 30,000 yuan annually.

By reusing the saline-alkali land, the breeding base has attracted more than 100 households to Tanji, the company's nearest village. Eighteen of the families are poor.

"If these people work as migrants in cities, they usually earn about 3,000 yuan per month, but if they work here, their salary will be over 4,000 yuan on average, and they are closer to home and can take care their families more conveniently," said Fan Guoxiao, assistant to general manager of the company.

She described the project as akin to doing charity work.

"We want to develop aquaculture in our town but, more important, to use the base to boost local farmers' incomes," Fan said.

What had been saline-alkali land is now full of fish and shrimp, and the farmers who benefit are beginning to thrive as they leave poverty behind.

According to data from the Guangxi Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, from 2012 to 2017, 7.09 million people were lifted out of poverty in the region.

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