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Science and technology assist in poverty alleviation

Zhang Yangfei
Updated: Dec 24,2020 08:52    China Daily

Science and technology departments across the country have invested more than 20 billion yuan ($3.06 billion) in impoverished areas since 2012, strongly boosting local industries involved in poverty alleviation, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

The ministry has advanced poverty alleviation with greater input of science and technology as well as human resources, Xu Nanping, vice-minister of science and technology, said at a news conference in Beijing on Dec 23.

To serve local needs, the ministry has pursued technological breakthroughs, boosted business startups, trained professionals and commercialized research results. These actions have helped improve the quality of industrial development in impoverished areas, he said.

According to the ministry's statistics, science and technology departments also launched 37,600 projects with the support of key national research and development programs and central funds, and introduced more than 50,000 technologies and new crop varieties to rural areas.

Since 2012, over 289,800 technical personnel have worked at the forefront of the battle against poverty, providing technical and entrepreneurship services for nearly 100,000 villages on the poverty list.

Xu said the ministry has continued to study how to consolidate the poverty alleviation achievements. For example, Jinggangshan in Jiangxi province, one of the poor counties targeted by the ministry, was lifted out of poverty in 2017, but the ministry has continued its support in terms of projects, supervision and management, as well as personnel assignments.

Next up, the ministry will do more research on how to apply the poverty alleviation experiences to China's rural revitalization strategy.

"In the revitalization of rural areas, we believe that the role of science and technology will become greater and greater," he said, adding that agricultural science and technological innovation will be given a more important position.

According to the ministry, one of the key measures in combating poverty is sending scientific experts to impoverished villages to help bring frontier technologies to local people and industries.

Zhu Youyong, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, is one such expert who has guided and conducted poverty alleviation work in Yunnan province.

For historical and natural reasons, Yunnan was one of the provinces severely stricken by poverty, with a wide range of areas affected, posing great difficulty in related work, Zhu said.

Zhu has been stationed in Haozhiba village in Pu'er, Yunnan. He said the poverty mainly hit mountainous areas which also have rich forest resources. Zhu and his team introduced the planting of traditional Chinese medicine plants in village forests, helping each hectare of forest yield TCM worth 900,000 to 1.2 million yuan a year.

Zhu said they also spotted some tropical river valleys with a large amount of land left idle in winter so they used the land to grow a special variety of potato.

Other key work is organizing classes to teach farmers relevant technologies. Some ethnic groups in border areas have limited technical know-how, so Zhu and his team have established 36 classes and finished training more than 1,400 people, he said, adding that 12 classes are currently running with 720 farmers in the course.

"We put our classroom in the field and taught them hand by hand. Each training course ran about half a year and after finishing the course, all students had shaken off poverty," Zhu said.

"Half helped their relatives and friends out of poverty and 10 percent brought the entire village out of poverty.

"I know that in the front line of the fight against poverty, there are thousands of science and technology personnel like us who promote scientific achievements to villages, spread their knowledge to rural households and bring theories into practical action. They have made an indispensable contribution to our fight against poverty."