'Potato Secretary' Leads Villagers out of Poverty in NW China's Xinjiang

December 26, 2018  Editor: Liu Yanmei
'Potato Secretary' Leads Villagers out of Poverty in NW China's Xinjiang
Zhu Hexiang [ts.cn]


A hard-working official in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has earned widespread attention and was dubbed as "Potato Secretary" after she led her village out of poverty by encouraging the cultivation of economic crops.

Zhu Hexiang is an official of Aiwu Zailikumu Village. She was dispatched by the Department of Commerce of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to help the local economy.

On the first night of her arrival, she held a meeting with village officials. After gaining a preliminary understanding of her village, she promised them, "I will try my best to make the villagers lead a better life."

As one of the few female officials of the poverty-stricken village, Zhu always helped villagers in person.

"Only by getting along with the villagers can I get to know the public opinion more clearly, so as to find out about the difficulties of poverty alleviation and thereby help the locals solve the problem in a faster way," Zhu explained.

At the beginning of the year, there were 281 households with 1,054 people recorded in the village. These included 76 poverty-stricken households with 269 people. Zhu plans to lift the whole village out of poverty by 2019.

"The causes of poverty vary from family to family and poverty alleviation measures must be developed for each one according to the actual situation," Zhu suggested.

Due to lack of technology, she hired technical experts to hold training courses such as cooking and housekeeping, and over 100 villagers have mastered practical techniques.

The village committee also established a farmer's night school to teach farming techniques to impoverished households, answer questions on the spot, and give specific solutions.

On the one hand, Zhu fully mobilized the enthusiasm and initiative of the impoverished people and enhanced their confidence; on the other hand, in view of the lack of labor for some impoverished households, she set up volunteer service teams to help them solve difficulties in production as well as in their daily lives.

The dry and hot local climate with little rain provides good conditions for locally grown potatoes and cantaloupes.

After repeated discussion, Zhu decided to use the characteristic industry to promote poverty alleviation work, make full use of the geographical advantages of the village, optimize the structure of agriculture and industries, and vigorously develop vegetables, fruits and other economic crops.

In conjunction with two other villages, she vigorously developed the cultivation of economic crops such as potato.

Under her promotion, a total of 524 mu (35 hectares) of potatoes were planted in three villages. The total potato output reached over 1,300 tons.

Next, she helped villagers sell the potatoes. In addition to promoting potatoes online, she also actively coordinated with local large-size circulation enterprises, and convinced supermarkets and wholesale markets to sell their produce.

The result was gratifying. This year the potato project led to an increase in the per capita income of impoverished households of over 3,000 yuan.

"It is a good thing to be a 'Potato Secretary'. The new era must have new thinking and new actions. This is the affirmation of the villagers for my work," Zhu said.

"As the secretary of this deeply impoverished village, in order to increase the income of the villagers, I would like to become the 'potato powder factory secretary', too," Zhu added.

To extend the industrial chain, Zhu initiated a potato deep processing production line, from investments made by village collectives and 538 poverty-stricken households in the town.

"We need to expand employment channels and give villagers more choices," Zhu said.

Zhu also built a rural e-commerce service station and put it into operation. Many members of impoverished households joined its staff, and they can get a salary of about 2,000 yuan a month.

Now, their potatoes, cantaloupe, red dates, and milk powder have been sold on well-known e-commerce platforms in China, opening up new channels for online sales, and also providing employment for more impoverished households nearby.

"I shall continue to fight against poverty and implement every poverty alleviation measure in a practical way, give play to the exemplary role of Party members and lead the people of the village to alleviate poverty," said Zhu.


'Potato Secretary' Leads Villagers out of Poverty in NW China's Xinjiang
Officials and villagers pack potatoes on the ground in Aiwu Zailikumu Village, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. [ts.cn]


(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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