Area ramps up its rural revitalization

By Chen Meiling| (China Daily )| Updated : 2018-09-19

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Eastern Shandong province is speeding up the creation of a modernized agricultural sector - helping its rural population to become more affluent amid China's calls for rural revitalization, leading officials said.

Liu Jiayi, Party chief of Shandong, wrote in a recent article that different regions should have their own paths to development based on their individual strengths - such as farming, forestry, animal husbandry and the fisheries sector.

Statistics showed that last year the province - home to 6 percent of China's farmland - contributed 8 percent to its total national food production, 9 percent of its meat production, and 12 percent and 13 percent respectively of fruit and vegetables output in the country.

Up to 24 percent of China's total agricultural exports came from Shandong last year, according to Wei Huaxiang, deputy secretary-general of Shandong provincial government. Wei added that his province was now beginning to apply advanced technologies, such as the Internet of Things, to build up a modern agriculture industry.

One example is an initiative in the city of Shouguang, where a group of younger people are monitoring the light, temperature and humidity of greenhouse vegetables.

According to reports, they have been controlling the crop's watering and fertilization process with a remote system that utilizes mobile phones.

That technology has helped save an estimated 20 percent of costs and increased production by some 15 percent, Cui Yulu, Party chief of Cuilingxi village in Shouguang, said.

To build a more efficient and advanced agricultural industry, the province has set a goal for 30 percent of its villages to achieve modernization by 2020, rising to 60 percent in 2030, and 100 percent in 2035, according to Shandong's official plans for rural revitalization.

Officials said the province's government is also stressing the importance of the benefits flowing down to its villagers.

Zhukou village in Rongcheng city used to be an ordinary fishing village. Now it has developed a new business - planting and deep processing wakame, a species of edible seaweed, which has brought more than 1,000 job opportunities, according to Chen Yi, Party chief of local fisheries company Zhukou Group.

In addition, about half the 1,700 villagers in Wantou village in Boxing county have opened online shops to sell handmade wickerwork to buyers nationally. Officials said the annual income from the business in the village has topped 300 million yuan ($44.6 million).

According to data from local authorities, the output value from the province's farming, forestry, animal husbandry and fisheries is expected to reach 1 trillion yuan in 2020.

What is more, the data also indicated that the total per capita disposable income of the rural population would exceed that of the urban population by that time.

Officials said that another focus of the countryside's development was environmental protection.

The province has proposed a three year-long initiative to improve sewage treatment, as well as renovate toilets and improve the environment of its villages.

The modernization process has seen conditions substantially improve in other places.

At Yuquanwa village in the city of Weifang, for example, a production area for villagers has sprung up, as well as a planting area, a fishing area and a catering center for tourists.

Liu Xiangdong, Party chief of the village, told Xinhua that the new facilities' designs and the renovations had made life easier and more comfortable.

The move toward more ecologically friendly, livable and beautiful villages in Shandong is expected to be completed in 2035, official data showed.