Taking the SpotlightWomen Bring Vitality, New Ideas to Modern Agriculture
Wang Shasha, Wei Xuanyi, Li Wei and Gao Yusheng February 10, 2017Comments(0) Post Your Comment E-mail Print Save

n China's vast rural areas, Chinese women, with science, technology and a spirit of innovation, have been doing their part to promote the development of new agricultural businesses. They have not only realized their entrepreneurial dreams and achieved business success, but they have also guided women around them to live better lives, and to make contributions to the building of a new countryside. 

The All-China Women's Federation (ACWF) held a meeting on entrepreneurship and innovation in Beijing on June 16, 2015. Leaders of the ACWF encouraged both urban and rural women to start businesses in the "Internet Plus" era (integrating the Internet with traditional industries, to promote the industries' healthy development).

According to Song Xiuyan, Vice-President and First Member of the Secretariat of the ACWF, the federation has offered small loans to about 4.66 million women, to help them start businesses.

Song also called on women, especially rural women and women who return to the countryside from cities, to participate in the development of modern agriculture, and to produce and sell green, organic and pollution-free agricultural products.

In January, the Chinese Government issued its No. 1 Central Document of 2016. Article 20 stressed the importance of women's role in rural development, and it stipulated that governments, at all levels, should allocate funds to support women in their efforts to find employment and start businesses in rural China. Article 20 also stipulated that governments should continue to carry out the Small Loans for Women project, and to provide more vocational training to women.

Shang Hui, from Yangjiazhuang, a village in Taoyuan County, in Central China's Hunan Province, is among the tens of millions of women who have gotten involved in a modern agricultural business. In 2015, she established Real Agriculture Company, which has since produced and sold organic agricultural products, including rice and camellia oil. Shang has also organized summer camps on the farmland for urban children.

Last year, the villagers earned a combined 1 million yuan (US $153,846) by working at Shang's company. Shang hopes to achieve greater success, and she hopes more young people will return to the countryside to help develop a modern agriculture industry. 

Guardian of Green Foods 

When Deng Lihua, then 33, was laid off in 1999, nobody thought she would start a business from scratch and eventually become a successful entrepreneur within the agricultural industry.

Deng is from Chaling, a village in Jiujiang County, in East China's Jiangxi Province. She opened a restaurant in the county in 1999, after she was laid off from a cotton and linen factory. She believed in the principle of honesty and trustworthiness in business. During five years of diligent work, she accumulated a fortune, and she also became more confident as a businessperson.

In 2004, Deng took over management of Jiangzhou Ginning Factory, which was on the verge of bankruptcy. She strengthened management and she bought new production equipment. Thanks to the joint efforts of Deng and her workers, the factory began to make profits again.

Also in 2004, Deng learned there were many barren areas on the mountains around Jiujiang, and she decided to plant trees to reforest those areas. So she established a "forest farm." 

Since 2004, she has invested more than 10 million yuan (US $1.54 million) in planting trees on a 7.87-square-kilometer area. Poplar, empress and camphor trees have been planted in that area. She has also created a 6.33-square-kilometer "economic forest," on which she has planted oil tea camellia. She has also raised more than 10,000 chickens, and she has grown plants used to produce traditional Chinese medicines.

The ACWF has designated the "forest farm" a demonstration forest base. The ACWF, the State Forestry Administration, Jiangxi Women's Federation, Jiujiang Women's Federation and Jiujiang Forestry Bureau have honored Deng for her contributions to the development of the region's forestry industry.

In September 2005, Deng established Jiujiang Linghua Industrial Company, and she expanded her agriculture business. She bred fish in both Chengmen Township and Jiangzhou Town. The annual output of her aquaculture business is 500 tons. 

In 2007, she began planting pear trees on a 2-square-kilometer area of a mountain in Jianshan, a poverty-stricken village in Jiujiang. Two years later, she and 60 villagers established a farmers' cooperative to plant pear trees and sell the pears.  

At that time, Deng moved to the village. She established a training school in the village. She regularly invites experts to teach villagers planting skills, and to offer technical guidance to the villagers. Deng also gives seeds, saplings and chemical fertilizer to the villagers. 

In 2012, the cooperative earned 2.7 million yuan (US $415,384), and each household earned more than 40,000 yuan (US $6,154). More than 50,000 households, which didn't join the cooperative, increased their incomes by planting pear trees. 

Jiujiang CPC Party Committee and Jiujiang Government in 2014 recognized the cooperative as one of the top 10 cooperatives in the county. Also that year, the Jiujiang Poverty Alleviation Office honored the cooperative for helping farmers improve their lives.

A year later, Deng invested more than 30 million yuan (US $4.61 million) to build a vegetable-production base in a suburb of Jiujiang. The base entered into a long-term cooperation agreement with agricultural science and technological companies in Beijing and Shouguang, in East China's Shandong Province. That cooperation is intended to help the base both improve agricultural technology and develop new species of agricultural crops. 

Heavy rain, caused by Typhoon Matmo, which deluged the county on July 24, 2014, was a nightmare for Deng. That storm damaged her greenhouses and pear trees; in fact, the storm cost an estimated 8 million yuan (US $1.23 million) in financial losses for Deng. "To run a business, you must learn how to overcome difficulties. I felt that the sky was falling at that time. I had to start all over again," Deng says. It took more than a month to reconstruct the greenhouses. 

The production base has evolved into a modern ecological and agricultural park. "We have a favorable ecological environment in our park. During weekends and holidays, many tourists from Jiujiang and other parts of the province come to enjoy themselves in the park. They go fishing, pick fruits and vegetables and eat various green foods," Deng says.

The park now has more than 50,000 square kilometers of greenhouses. "We don't use pesticides and weeding machines. We use organic fertilizer, and we weed by hand. Our company has adopted new agricultural technology, to make sure our products are green and are of a high quality. Our company also has a training center, where we offer technical training to our employees and the farmers," Deng says.

The agricultural products, including Mandarin fish, fruits and vegetables, grains and oil, pork and chicken, have become popular. To expand the market, Deng has reached agreements with several big companies to sell fresh vegetables. Deng has also established 10 vegetable outlets in Jiujiang.

Deng says she enjoys her career in modern agriculture, even though it requires a lot of hard work. "What I want is to help farmers live better lives, and to supply citizens with green agricultural products," Deng says. 

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