More youths return to village in rural revitalization drive -Xinhua


A staff member works in an agricultural demonstration park in Gengdian Village of Liaocheng City, east China’s Shandong Province, Oct. 19, 2022. (Xinhua/Yuan Min)

JINAN, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) — Cao Youzhong’s mobile phone has kept ringing recently as customers sought to buy his pears. Cao told them all pears had been sold out this season and that they could place preorders for next year.

Cao, 34, worked in big cities after college graduation in 2010, before returning to his rural hometown in east China’s Shandong Province more than four years ago.

He built his own brand of garden produce and has become well-known for his e-commerce business in Gengdian Village in the city of Liaocheng, managing 3.3 hectares of pears, six vegetable greenhouses and 11 grape greenhouses there.

He had a bumper pear harvest this year, with net income of 75,000 yuan (about 10,550 U.S. dollars) per hectare. His total net income, including that generated by vegetables and grapes, is expected to reach 420,000 yuan this year.

“I used to earn 8,000 yuan a month at most while working in the cities, but I earn much more now,” Cao said.

Two decades ago, locals relied on growing wheat and corn for a living and their per capita annual net income back then was less than 3,000 yuan. This prompted many young villagers to go to cities as migrant workers, leaving behind those born mostly in the 1950s and 1960s to take care of the farmland.

In recent years, as China moved to advance rural revitalization, nearly 120 young people born in the 1980s and 1990s in Gengdian Village have returned there from cities and joined the new generation of farmers. They often brought back funds, modern farming concepts and e-commerce business models to help transform the farming landscape.

The small village with a population of just over 800 has set up an intelligent seedling plant, a fruit and vegetable cooperative, and a packaging and processing plant, as well as a wholesale market to boost sales.

This thriving greenhouse industry is producing considerable income and a high quality of life, making the village more attractive for young people wanting to start their own businesses.

Geng Fujian was one of the beneficiaries. He quit his job at an electronics factory in the southern manufacturing hub of Shenzhen and returned to the village in 2010. The village helped him secure land and bank loans to build greenhouses, while agricultural technicians directly taught him farming techniques.

Geng, 34, made over 400,000 yuan from growing chili peppers last year. “I earn more from growing greenhouse vegetables than I did working at the factory. There isn’t too much difference between rural and urban life. What’s more, I can stay closer to my parents and children and take good care of them,” he said. “I now have a sense of both fulfillment and happiness.”

The village has been regularly training young farmers in a local agricultural demonstration park, where modern farming practices such as soilless cultivation, fertigation and automatic temperature control are applied.

“With the availability of modern farming practices, agricultural materials and machinery, and a better agricultural entrepreneurship environment, the young farmers no longer need to toil as hard as their preceding generations,” Cao said.

Gengdian Village is the epitome of the country’s rural revitalization drive. Sparked and encouraged by this drive, a large number of specialty industry clusters and modern agricultural parks are springing up across the country, with many of the younger generations returning to their hometowns — often with capital, technology and new ideas.

Innovation and entrepreneurship activities are becoming increasingly visible in rural China. Over the past decade, some 11.2 million people have returned to China’s rural areas to set up their own businesses, with each entity creating six to seven stable jobs on average, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The young farmers are bringing more vibrancy to the village, Cao said. “I often chat with them about the ups and downs of the farm produce market. I’m also seeking like-minded live-streaming teams to expand my e-commerce business,” he said. 


Read More: More youths return to village in rural revitalization drive -Xinhua

2022-11-19 05:26:15

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