Six Miao Women's Dream of Increasing Income

June 25, 2019
By Liu KaifuEditor: Wei Xuanyi
Miao women in Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, have realized their dream of increasing their incomes by growing organic vegetable. [For Women of China]

 

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. It is also the key year to win the battle against poverty. Women's federations, at all levels, have made poverty alleviation a priority, and they have been implementing the strategy of rural revitalization, mobilizing rural women to participate in industrial development and skills training, and helping women increase their

incomes and escape poverty.

Guizhou, a province in Southwest China, is one of the main battlefields in the country's fight against poverty. During the past 40 years, since China's reform and opening up, the number of women living in poverty in Guizhou has fallen by more than 6.8 million. Women in poor mountainous areas in Guizhou have been holding up "half the sky" as they have extricated themselves from poverty, and as they have helped revitalize the countryside under the guidance of the country's targeted poverty-alleviation policies.

Located in Taijiang County, in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province, Shidong Town is shrouded in morning fog. Six Miao women, Zhang Yinmei, Yang Shuli, Zhang Liangweng, Zhang Jibao, Zhang Buping and Yang Tongzhen, all of whom live in Balahe, a Miao village in Shidong, are preparing vegetables for the nearby Shidong Middle and Shidong Central Primary schools. They bend over in the vegetable field as they harvest cabbage, with sickles, and place the cabbage in baskets.

Miao women in Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, have realized their dream of increasing their incomes by growing organic vegetable. [For Women of China]

 

At the end of 2017, the six women contracted more than 80 mu (5.33 hectares) of land in the village to grow organic vegetables. They plant radishes and Chinese cabbage in autumn and winter, and they plant cabbage, potatoes and other pollution-free vegetables each spring and summer. To overcome difficulties that result from the lack of convenient transportation, the women use small boats and tricycles to deliver their fresh seasonal vegetables to the area's kindergartens and primary and secondary schools.

Three years ago, Zhang Yinmei and Yang Shuli worked as migrant workers, in Shanghai, with their husbands while several other women stayed at home, made embroideries and planted low-yield crops.

At the call of the local government, Zhang Yinmei in 2017 established Balahe Organic Agricultural Products Cooperative, and she led some poor residents in developing new agricultural industries.

Miao women in Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, have realized their dream of increasing their incomes by growing organic vegetable. [For Women of China]

 

"It was very difficult to start a business at first. But as long as we worked hard together, we believed our vegetables would sell well," recalls Zhang Yinmei.

Yang Shuli, Zhang Jibao, Zhang Buping and other poverty-stricken women continued to join the cooperative. "I am 58 years old, and it is unrealistic for me to go out to work. Under the leadership of Zhang Yinmei, I can earn money by growing vegetables, and I can also take care of my grandchildren," says Zhang Jibao.

By planting organic vegetables, the average annual income of the six Miao women is roughly 20,000 yuan (US $ 2,941) . Zhou Xingwen, president of the Taijiang Women's Federation, says, "The key to escaping poverty lies in people. Thanks to the country's targeted poverty-alleviation policies and diversified skills training, more and more left - behind women in rural areas (whose husbands have left home to earn money in cities) have liberated their minds and taken the initiative to develop production, and have gradually become the 'main force' for the development of rural wealth."

Zhang Yinmei is working at the vegetable base. [For Women of China]

 

Miao women in Taijiang County, Guizhou Province, have realized their dream of increasing their incomes by growing organic vegetable. [For Women of China]

 

Miao women are carrying vegetables with a boat.[For Women of China]

 

(Women of China English Monthly May 2019 issue)

 

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