Sugarcanes are either eaten or trampled upon. This is a glimpse at a sugarcane field destroyed by Asian elephants that covers around 5 mu (0.33 hectare) in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of southwest China’s Yunnan province.
Zi Yanping, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), as well as the vice president of a health center in Jino township, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, arrived at the sugarcane field for investigation after driving two hours in scorching heat.
Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture is a major habitat for Asian elephants, a species under first-class national protection in China, and the prefecture has established a national nature reserve to protect the tropical forests where Asian elephants live. However, the gradually rising number of Asian elephants in the region is also resulting in increasing “conflicts” between local residents and the animal.
Zi learned that the farmer would lose at least 10,000 yuan from the destroyed sugarcane field as every mu of sugarcanes generates an income of around 2,000 yuan, and this does not include the farmer’s prior input. The Asian elephants’ activities are causing severe impacts on local farmers’ production and life, Zi said.
As one that has lived in Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture for years, Zi knows the prefecture has a special compensation program for damage caused by wildlife. According to the program, local farmers can receive 600 yuan for every mu of rice destroyed, 400 yuan for every mu of corns destroyed and 800 yuan for every mu of sugarcanes destroyed.
“Farmers earn 2,000 yuan from every mu of sugarcanes, and 800 yuan from corns, so the current compensation program is only able to cover around half of the farmers’ losses.” That is a conclusion reached by Zi after investigating in three villages.
After learning all the 6,133 cases of damages caused by wildlife in the prefecture since 2011, Zi found that 322 had casualties and 66,963 households were affected. Asian elephants were the major “perpetrators.”
“We must try our best to reduce the damages on lives and property of the people while ensuring protection over the Asian elephants, and to raise the compensation standard remains an urgent task,” Zi said, deciding to make a relevant proposal to this year’s National People’s Congress (NPC).
The preparation of the proposal started last June and lasted till this April. To better it, Zi consulted experts with forestry departments and verified the latest statistics with the local government. In her proposal, it is suggested that the compensation standard be raised for damages caused by wildlife, including the Asian elephants.
Zi became a delegate of the 12th National People’s Congress since 2013, and a member of the CPPCC in 2018. As one that works at the primary-level health system, she had proposed to raise the income for rural doctors. As one from the Jino ethnic minority, she had proposed to protect the traditional culture of the Jino and enhance the input of educational resources in areas inhabited by ethnic minority groups.
The proposals raised by Zi were in different areas, but every one of them was raised by her after field trips and investigations. In recent years, Zi’s has left her footsteps on almost every corner of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.
“Only by studying the primary level can we have a thorough understanding of the difficulties encountered by the people and present their concerns to the country,” she said.