A Sichuan township fights to reduce poverty

World Today

Anti-poverty efforts have ramped up all over China. That’s particularly true in Sichuan province. CGTN’s Yang Jinghao went to see first-hand how these anti-poverty programs work.

Located in the northeast of Sichuan Province, Shuangle Township in Santai County is about 170 kilometers from the provincial capital Chengdu. The township consists of nine villages and has a population of about 13,000.

In 2014, when the province’s targeted poverty alleviation initiative started, some 480 households with an annual income of less than 2,730 yuan were listed as ‘needy families’, accounting for about ten percent of the township’s total population.

Thanks to efforts from different levels of government over the years, the number of households in poverty has been reduced to a mere 30.

Songguanmiao village is one of the three villages on the poverty list in the Shuangle Township. With a series of policies and measures in place, most of the people of the township are expected to be lifted out of poverty by 2018, two years ahead of the country’s goal to build a moderately prosperous society.

“We’ve been carrying out poverty alleviation work from two aspects,” explained Wang Kaizhi, the head of Shuangle Township.

“First, we help the targeted families solve basic living problems such as housing, medical, and education matters as instructed by the central or provincial governments. Then the county government assigns government employees to help the families seek solutions on a one-on-one basis.”

So far, most villages here have developed proper industries based on their own conditions as the fundamental way out. This has provided local farmers with many options – getting income from farmland transfers, working under agricultural cooperatives, and reaping profit as shareholders.

In this way, Wangjiayan, another village classified as in poverty, is experiencing favorable changes by developing loach farming and some other industries.

“We have established five cooperatives so far and have also made much progress in infrastructure construction,” said Luo Xiaoming, head of the Wangjiayan village committee. “With the joint efforts of cooperatives, I believe we’ll accomplish more in the coming years.”

Township head Wang Kaizhi says it will take a few more years to consolidate the achievements and further improve the quality of villagers’ life both materially and culturally. As such, related policies and measures will continue, even if a family is lifted out of poverty.