China’s targeted poverty alleviation programs yielding tangible results

World Today

Ahead of the 19th National Party Congress, a look at China’s reforms and progress over the years.

China has lifted 7 million people out of poverty. But the work is far from over.

As part of our ‘China Footprint’ series, CGTN’s Nathan King travelled to Hunan province—and met yet another beekeeper.

Xiangxi autonomous prefecture in Hunan province is rich in its natural beauty. But behind the scenic mountains lay villages that have long been plagued by poverty.

Until recently, its people have been remote and development has been more difficult. But that is changing fast.

Beekeeper Luo Gang lives in Xiwa village. He once chopped wood for a living and was mired in poverty, but his fascination with bees has now turned into his livelihood thanks to the targeted poverty alleviation program.

The program helped him buy the hives and equipment necessary to become a beekeeper, and now he is a success.

“It has increased my income,” says Luo, “which was less than 10,000 yuan in 2014. In 2016, it was 30,000 yuan. And in 2017, it’s very likely to be 60,000 yuan.”

The targeted poverty alleviation program began here in Xiangxi in 2013 after President Xi Jinping came to this beautiful village of Shibadong.

Local development director Li Weiguo explained that the policy is now aimed at those who need help the most.

“The essence of targeted poverty alleviation is, first of all, embodied in precise targets,” he claims.

“Back in the old days, we helped almost every business person regardless of whether or not they were poor. But now, we are helping impoverished families who really need help.”

Mr. Li said these families are helped by experts who, alongside them in their villages, build on their existing way of life by adding new businesses that suit the local region.

For example, Xiangxi is rapidly becoming the Kiwi capital of China after the fruit was identified as suitable for mass production in this area.

Targeted poverty alleviation also means that local officials will study the different conditions of each and every poor family and help them according to their unique situations.

Namely, the government and experts are designing different plans to precisely target different families.

And the policy seems to be paying off. In the past three years, 275 villages like these have been lifted out of poverty in the Xiangxi region. That’s 350,000 people.

Luo Gang’s ‘honey harvest’ has doubled every year. The golden bounty means he has been able to send his daughter to university, buy a motorcycle, and provide a future for his family.

He now is preparing to train his neighbors in the art of beekeeping.

For beekeeper Luo Gang, it’s literally from hive to honey in his own front yard. That’s the mission for poverty alleviation projects in the area: keeping it close to home.