China Agricultural University:Party members leading the way in helping local farmers support themselves


Years ago, China Agricultural University (CAU) established a one-on-one support alliance with Zhenkang County, one of the poorest farming areas in Yunnan Province. In order to help the county shake off poverty, CAU sent professors, who were also Party members, on field missions to Zhenkang, to provide training and guidance on farming and rural development to their local colleagues. Empowered local Party members were then able to eliminate poverty through more efficient farming practices.

Staff secondment. Since the beginning of the cooperative support initiative with Zhenkang, CAU has seconded 9 staff members, who are Party members, to Zhenkang County to provide field training on high-tech farming, develop and disseminate new farming techniques and introduce new crop varieties.

A bottom-up approach. CAU began poverty alleviation efforts with Muchang and Mangbing, the two poorest of seven towns in the Zhenkang jurisdiction. In Mangbing, professors helped local farmers embark on massive tea planting using organic farming practices, allowing them to generate higher added-value and more income. In Muchang, they have established a ‘center for showcasing techniques’ for demonstrating and disseminating new farming techniques that help small-holding farmers increase their yield.

Service stations. CAU has established a professor service station, a center for showcasing techniques’, and a service team manned by Ph.D students in Zhenkang, to provide targeted guidance and support to local farmers.

Developing local specialties. CAU identified four agricultural specialties whose massive planting made great economic sense: Pu’er tea, winter peach, Chinese medicinal herbs and cordifolia. The service stations provided training to local Party members in charge of agricultural development, as well as households, on the use of new farming techniques.