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Herbal way to alleviate poverty

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-18 07:48

 Herbal way to alleviate poverty

Yunnan province's Luquan Yi and Miao autonomous county offers ideal conditions for herbal plantation.[Photo by Yuan Qingpan /For China Daily]

Medicinal plants are offering impoverished villages a green way to prosperity

Pristine natural conditions and an ideal altitude have turned a formerly isolated county into a major source of herbs. But the beginnings were far from promising.

Luquan Yi and Miao autonomous county was once so deprived that Qian Shiquan had to leave home to work as a concrete mixing laborer and then a construction contractor in 2000 because there was no way to do to keep his family above water.

In fact, as per the 2,000 figures, more than 80 percent of Ganhaizi village in Luquan county, Yunnan province, lived under the national poverty line, which was set at 1,200 yuan ($173) per year, a figure that was adjusted to 3,000 yuan in 2016.

The village did not have proper road access and electricity until 2004.

However, Qian was forced to quit his job and return home in 2006, because of his two young daughters.

Thanks to work experience, Qian was then chosen to be on the village committee.

Initially, he spent most of his time dealing with village disputes.

As for economic opportunity, titanium ore exploration was the rage back then, says Qian.

But that did not last for long. The local government soon shut the mining business to protect the local environment and the water supplies.

So, the locals were left with no option but to try and make a living from the land.

But, traditional farming was not enough to sustain them.

"For one thing, it was difficult to transport the farm produce out of the village, and, besides, a ton of potatoes only brought in a little more than 1,000 yuan," says Qian.

Determined to help his family and fellow villagers, Qian then sought out more economically viable crops to cultivate.

As a result, they visited several places to study different agricultural practices..

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