"Horizontally to the Side, Vertically to the End": Establishing A Large Pattern of Poverty Alleviation Through Science and Technology
Photo: China Daily & Yang Kai Hou Meng
The fungus from Zhashui went popular.
On April 20, 2020, President Xi Jinping went to Zhashui, Shaanxi to inspect the work of poverty alleviation and praised that the small fungus has formed a large industry.
"The president's praise affirms the tangible role of sci-tech poverty alleviation industries, including fungi, in poverty alleviation." Li Yu, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and professor of Jilin Agricultural University, said excitedly.
"90% mountains, 5% water and 5% fields" is a true portrayal of Zhashui, a targeted county for poverty alleviation by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). With the aid of technology, small fungus has gradually formed a large industry. Delicious, big, thick... The black fungus and jade fungus selected by Li Yu's team played a hard-core role in the poverty alleviation of Zhashui and the prosperity of its people.
Poverty alleviation through science and technology is an important part of the national poverty alleviation and development strategy. The sci-tech poverty alleviation action is one of the top ten poverty alleviation actions determined by the State Council’s Leading Group of Poverty Alleviation and Development in 2016.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC), the MOST has firmly grasped the poverty alleviation strategy: targeted poverty alleviation, the will to fight against poverty should be put ahead of poverty alleviation, and the knowledge and skills needed should be provided at the same time. It deeply implemented the sci-tech poverty alleviation project of “A hundred platforms, A thousand assistance pairs, Ten thousand commissioners”, innovated mechanisms of inter-ministerial coordination, eastern and western sci-tech poverty alleviation cooperation and "four-level linkage", establishing a large pattern of sci-tech poverty alleviation: "Horizontally to the Side, Vertically to the End".
The poverty alleviation work through science and technology has made significant achievements. The sci-tech departments of all levels in China have established 1,290 innovation and entrepreneurship platforms in poverty-stricken areas, established 77,000 sci-tech assistance pairs, selected 289,800 sci-tech commissioners, invested more than 20 billion RMB, implemented 37,600 projects, and promoted the application of more than 50,000 advanced and practical technology new varieties.
Regard the development of industries with rural characteristics as the main front
Li Yu is the only academician in the field of edible and medicinal fungi research in China. Changchun and Zhashui are 2102 kilometers apart. Why has the fungus of Li Yu's team got a good harvest in Zhashui?
There is a moving story about poverty alleviation through science and technology. In 2017, led by the MOST, Li Yu's team went to Zhashui and started their sci-tech poverty alleviation work.
"Science and technology achieved significant results in poverty alleviation in Zhashui and other places. The key lies in the development of industries with rural characteristics as the main front." The person in charge from the MOST said.
In Zhashui, the MOST has implemented 28 special projects for the central-guided local science and technology development, invested 70.5 million RMB, introduced more than 380 scientific and technological talents, and organized training for more than 3,000 person-time poverty alleviation officials and poverty-stricken people.
In July 2016, during an inspection in Ningxia, President Xi Jinping pointed out that developing industries is the fundamental way to achieve poverty alleviation. It is necessary to adapt measures to local conditions and to cultivate industries as the fundamental way out of poverty alleviation.
Since the 18th NCCPC, sci-tech departments of all levels in China have implemented 37,600 sci-tech projects at all levels in poverty-stricken areas, including national key R&D programs and special projects for the central-guided local science and technology development, leading the rapid development of poverty alleviation industries.
More than 66 million RMB has been invested in the national key R&D programs "high-quality and high-yield major cash crops and the improvement of quality and efficiency of sci-tech innovation by industries", "blue granary sci-tech innovation", "key technology R&D for food safety" and other key special projects to make aquaculture, fungus and rare edible mushrooms industries larger and stronger.
The popularization and application of technologies for the breeding of Coptis chinensis new varieties, high-efficiency cultivation, comprehensive utilization of by-products and other technologies has enabled the comprehensive output value of the Coptis chinensis industry in Shizhu, Chongqing to reach 360 million RMB, and the average income of growers is 46,000 RMB.
Luopu County, Xinjiang has integrated poverty alleviation funds of more than 60 million RMB to build the largest pigeon breeding base in Hotan area, receiving 193 poor people to work and driving 7,900 poor households out of poverty with income increase of more than 1,000 RMB per capita.
The sci-tech departments of all levels in China have promoted the application of more than 50,000 advanced practical technologies and new varieties such as "integrated rice-fishing cultivation technology" and "smash-ridging technology", which injected strong momentum into the high-quality development of industries in poor areas.
The sci-tech commissioners become a new force in the fight against poverty
In 2015, Zhu Youyong, a 60-year-old sci-tech commissioner and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, came to his hometown of Lancang County, Yunnan's most impoverished area. He set himself a new goal: to use science and technology to eradicate poverty.
He has been stationed in the Haozhiba village, Lancang for poverty alleviation, who is a sci-tech commissioner to set up an academician work station in the grass-rooted unit in China.
Zhu Youyong, who is nicknamed as the "farmer academician" by the local people, promoted the transformation of scientific and technological achievements based on the actual situation in rural areas, and established the academician science and technology poverty alleviation training class.
At present, under-forest organic Panax notoginseng planting has been promoted in the poverty-stricken mountainous areas of Lancang for more than 1,000 mu (around 1700 acres), and late-season potatoes have been promoted in Yunnan province for over 5 million mu (around 0.83 million acres).
"Poverty alleviation through science and technology has enabled us to transform 'idle winter fields' into 'productive fields' and develop a winter potato industry in Lancang." Zhu Youyong said.
On October 20, 2019, President Xi Jinping issued important instructions on the 20th anniversary of the implementation of the sci-tech commissioner system.
Xi said that since the implementation of the system, more and more experts have been sent to the countryside to serve agriculture, rural areas and farmers with science and technology in the past 20 years. They have helped publicize the Party's policies on agriculture, rural areas and farmers, popularize agricultural science and technology, spearhead sci-tech innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas, and lead villages out of poverty. "They have enabled farmers to acquire a stronger sense of fulfillment and and happiness," he also said.
Since the 18th NCCPC, experts selected by the sci-tech departments of all levels in China have been dispatched to the frontline of poverty alleviation, basically achieving full coverage of science and technology services and promotion of entrepreneurship in nearly 100,000 registered poverty-stricken villages across the country. They set great example to farmers and led them out of poverty. During the process, some advanced examples emerged, such as Li Yu, Zhao Yafu, Yao Jianmin, Lyu Xiulan, and Zhu Youyong.
Since 2014, the central government has invested a total of 2.14 billion RMB to implement the "Three Districts" Talent Support Program for special scientific and technological talents. More than 120,000 scientific and technological talents have been selected to 1,118 "Three Districts" counties in central and western provinces. Besides, more than 20,000 local talents who are skilled in technology, operation and management were trained, and most of them are returning migrant workers and college graduates working as village officials. All these measures were taken to create a working team labeled as being perseverant and professional for poverty-stricken areas .
We will develop demonstration field for innovation-driven targeted poverty alleviation
In January 2016, President Xi Jinping inspected the poverty alleviation work in Jinggangshan and pointed out that "Jinggangshan should set an example and lead the way in poverty alleviation".
The MOST always adheres to the path of innovation-driven development and builds targeted poverty alleviation counties into innovation-driven precision poverty alleviation demonstration fields. It has selected and sent a group of officials with strong business skills and sci-tech experts, and implemented scientific and technological projects with great effects. Besides, a number of innovative and entrepreneurial platforms have been established, and a group of distinctive and sustainable poverty alleviation industries have been developed.
Statistics show that the MOST has invested more than 1.1 billion RMB and introduced assistance funds in 5 targeted poverty alleviation counties since 2016. The MOST also implemented more than 250 projects including the national key research and development plan, the special project of the central-guided local science and technology development, and the special project of "Science & Technology Boosts the Economy 2020" with a total of 219 million RMB has been invested. About 845 million RMB has been introduced for assistance, nearly 200 new varieties have been selected, and more than 100 key industrial technologies have been developed, which has effectively improved the technological level of industrial development in targeted poverty alleviation counties.
In the five targeted poverty alleviation counties, the MOST has set up more than 30 platforms for innovation and entrepreneurship, including national and provincial agricultural science and technology parks, service space for innovators, sub-centers for collaborative innovation, science and technology demonstration bases, industrial demonstration parks, and science and technology resource coordination centers, to facilitate the deep integration of scientific and technological innovation with industries, and to improve the quality and efficiency of poverty-alleviation leading industries.
As of 2018, the MOST had selected 65 poverty alleviation officials from the 30 sessions of the Science and Technology Poverty Alleviation Group to Jinggangshan, a targeted poverty alleviation county, supported a total of 338 projects in 35 key poverty-stricken villages, with a total investment of 345 million RMB.
All of the MOST’s five targeted poverty alleviation counties have shaken off poverty ahead of schedule. Among them，Jinggangshan took the lead and made president Xi’s words about “Jinggangshan should set a good example in the fight against poverty” come true.
Targeted measures should be taken to ensure that assistance reaches poverty-stricken villages and households.
The premise of rural revitalization is industrial prosperity
The less developed the regions are, the more innovation-driven development strategies they need to implement.
The whole Party and the whole society should continue to work together to form a strong synergy in poverty alleviation and development.
The statements above are resounding.
Achieving poverty alleviation through science and technology lies in its work precision，focusing on industry, taking root in innovation, depending on people’s joint effort and relies on persistence.
Since the 18th NCCPC, the sci-tech departments of all levels in China have explored a path of innovation-driven targeted poverty alleviation by leveraging the advantages of science and technology and human resources.
Eradication of poverty is not the end, but a fresh start of the new life and the new strive. In this land of hope, science and technology will create more opportunity, consolidate and expand China’s anti-poverty achievements, promote rural revitalization in all respects, and make new and greater contributions to achieving new victories in building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.
(Written by Ma Aiping, translated by Lu Zijian, Long Yun & Yu Haoyuan)