To help lift Majiang County in Guizhou Province out of poverty, Nanjing Agricultural University (NAU) established a mechanism for creating and promoting local brands as a way to boost the county’s economic growth. By the end of 2017, the number of poor villages in the county dropped by 8, the poor population by 7,800, and poverty incidence by 6.15 percentage points, compared to the previous year. In the 2017 evaluation on targeted poverty relief by central government-affiliated organizations, the NAU received positive feedback from local residents.
Establishing an expert team to help develop a booming industry
In response to Majiang County’s call for integrated utilization of agricultural, historical and tourism resources, the NAU chrysanthemum project team launched an industrial development campaign and adopted measures such as screening of chrysanthemum varieties, and large-scale cultivation of seedlings. In 2016 and 2017, the team facilitated the construction of two chrysanthemum valleys in two villages which are historic attractions. With 99 acres of gardens, the valleys exhibit over 560 new ornamental and edible chrysanthemum varieties. During the National Day holiday of this year, the chrysanthemum gardens in the county received more than 300,000 visitors generating a total revenue of 70 million RMB. The chrysanthemum industry has proved to be a growth engine, providing a sustainable livelihood for local residents.
Delivering technical support to the local agricultural industry
During the winter and summer vacations every year, a team of agricultural professors from the NAU would visit Majiang, conducting investigations and bringing new ideas. In the 2017 winter vacation, the team helped the local government to formulate an industrial development plan, facilitating the production of red garlic, rice rich in zinc and selenium, vegetables and blueberries. It provided input for the planning of organic agriculture and the development of demonstration prefectures and counties. It also established a farmers’ alliance and offered long-distance information services.
Sending teachers to work in rural schools
The NAU selects a handful of successful postgraduates every year to work in four rural primary and middle schools. Apart from teaching, the volunteer teacher teams also organize fund raising activities, which accumulatively received a total of 300,000 RMB in cash and gifts in kind valued at 100,000 RMB in the form of books and sporting goods, benefiting 300 poor students.