Wang Fuyuan, a farmer from Maohui village, Wuzhishan of south China’s Hainan province, recently had a big harvest of his chilis. The red plants, grown in a vast demonstration field, present a picturesque image together with surrounding lush mountains, signaling the joy of a bumper year.
“It’s the third batch we have picked, and we were busier days ago,” Wang said. “With a unit price of over 2 yuan ($0.28) per kilogram, I can earn over 1,000 yuan after a day’s picking,” the farmer introduced.
However, this was barely imaginable a year before.
“We planted tens of mu (1mu equals to about 667 square kilometers) of chilis last year, but the production was low because of the insect pests,” noted Wang Zhihai, Party chief of Maohui village. “We failed due to the lack of planting techniques,” he added.
“But now things get better, because we are assured by Zhao Mingyuan,” the Party chief of the village told People’s Daily, referring to the sci-tech expert sent to the village by Hainan Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
Zhao not only brought planting techniques, but also established a demonstration program of chili planting which provides the growers with seeds and fertilizers. Now, villagers in Maohui are rushing to plant chilis.
Zhao is one of the many sci-tech experts who help farmers solve agricultural problems with their expertise. Taking techniques, information, management and capital to the countryside, they assist farmers to increase income and restructure industries under the guidance of relevant policies.
Maodao is a village known for its passionfruit planting. Dubbed as “golden passionfruit”, the tasty fruits grown in the village are normally sold at 30 yuan per kilogram. Flocks of people have visited the village in recent years to learn experiences.
Lv Jiawen, a sci-tech expert dispatched to Maodao village unveiled the secrets to the village’s success. According to him, the passion fruits used to be grown on flat trellises, which only enabled the fruits to receive sunlight on only one side; but now a “curtain type” method is adopted, by which the plants can fruit as the vines climb up. This method expanded the sunshine coverage, thus helping the plants yield more fruits. “The production increased threefold to fivefold,” Lv noted.
The technical revolution came from institutional innovation. Forceful measures have been rolled out in Wuzhishan to fully implement the sci-tech expert mechanism. The experts selected or sent can enjoy an annual subsidy of 20,000 yuan, and the programs approved can receive a funding of no more than 200,000 yuan. “This boosted our confidence in continuing technical research,” Lv told People’s Daily.
Statistics showed that a total of 78 sci-tech experts have been dispatched in Wuzhishan, including university professors and rural entrepreneurs, whose footsteps have covered all administrative villages in the city. Sixty relevant programs have been approved in 3 batches, which are expected to train 4,380 farmers and benefit 411 rural households, including 180 impoverished ones. The output of these programs will reach 9 million yuan.
The sci-tech experts are also encouraged to establish rural scientific cooperatives, technical societies and cooperatives through technical or capital investment, so as to build economic complexes with the farmers and make the sci-tech expert mechanism more lasting.