Business / Economy

China's poorest village booming thanks to 'rural urbanization'

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-08 14:03

The first harvest in 1979, saw a bounty harvest, with more grain from one season than the total of the past ten years. Their success was noted by the relevant authorities and the process was repeated elsewhere.

"You are more committed when you work for your own family. No tears were shed that night we signed the contract under the muted light of a kerosene lamp, but I was worried about a possible prison term. But a life ruled by begging for food year after year was so humiliating, and we were so poor that we could not even afford underwear," Yan Jinchang, 72, one of the 18 villagers that signed the groundbreaking agreement, said in an interview.

Much like Han, Yan does not need to leave his village to earn money. He and his son opened a restaurant and hostel in Xiaogang in 2008 and they can make up to 200,000 yuan in net income annually. More than 3,900 villagers in Xiaogang made an average annual net income of 12,000 yuan in 2013, almost 35 percent higher than the rural average of 8,896 yuan.

Reform vitality

The 2,300 mu of greenhouses and orchards managed by Fengyang Golden was transferred from farmers in Xiaogang.

Unfortunately, farmers who are entitled to property use rights do not hold the property certificates to transfer their land. Fengyang County was one of the first 20 counties in Anhui to initiate a trial program in 2013, to test the waters and see of the mortgaging and transfer of farmers' homesteads, as well as the sale and lease of rural construction land could be economically and socially advantageous.

This land reform measure can kickstart large-scale farming and poor some much needed vitality into the rural economy.

Fengyang Golden is not the only business that is aware of the potential of villages like Xiaogang and the more company's arrives, the more support the -- previously -- ailing agricultural sector reaps. For example, free swine manure from a nearby pig-breeding company makes great fertilizer for the organic orchards at Fengyang Golden.

"This can save me at least 200,000 yuan a year on fertilizer, and makes it more likely that farmers-turned-workers, like Han, will get a pay raise," manager of Fengyang Golden Zhao Peihe said.

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