There are three flatlands and four slopes. Two rivers cross the county. A large part of the county are mountains and a small part of the county is trough. It is an overview of the landscape of Butuo county, Liangshan prefecture. With difficult terrains, the situation of Songpan county in Sichuan is similar to that of Butuo county. In the task of poverty alleviation led by the national leadership SWUST provided assistance to Songpan county and Butuo county, as well as to Liusuotou village, Shuitong village, Hanpan village in Songpan county, and Wuyi village in Butuo county. In the poverty alleviation work, SWUST adhering to the concept of poverty alleviation through consumption, has accurately considered the local reality and their high concerns, and led the local people to get rid of poverty and get rich step by step.
Create the foundation: Find great products
To alleviate poverty through consumption, the first step is to let the local people have something to sell. Since receiving the task of poverty alleviation, SWUST has made a meticulous investigation into the economic conditions, landforms, personnel composition as well as living and working habits of the two above mentioned counties. The first high concern is the fact that the variety of products is too limited to scale up and the villagers are not equipped with any new technology. For a long period of time, SWUST has been sending professional scientific research teams to help them improve cultivating traditional products, as well as research and develop popular products in the market. The teams have developed a number of dynamic agricultural and livestock products in line with local conditions.
The unique climate conditions together with high altitude and huge temperature difference, let SWUST find a new business opportunity: planting strawberries which grow in summer and autumn. After trial planting and popularization, SWUST’s expert group specializing in fruit trees selected 5 varieties of strawberries to fill the gap of no strawberries in summer and autumn in China. Up to now, strawberries have developed well, covering nearly 2000 mu of planting area in Aba Prefecture and Ganzi prefecture, and the annual output has reached 5,000 tons, which has become a bright growth point in the development of modern agriculture in Songpan county.
Bergamot pear is an excellent pear variety introduced from northwest China. However, due to backward cultivation technology, fewer varieties of fruit and poor quality of appearance, some planters began to destroy the trees. The expert team made improvement plans for them from the aspects of pollination tree configuration, plastic trimming, fertilizer and water management, green prevention and control, and other aspects. Today, its cultivation area has grown from the original 2 mu (1mu=0.0667 hectares) to more than 1,000 mu, with an annual yield of 300 tons of high-quality fresh fruit.
In order to make full use of land resources, SWUST dispatched a vegetable expert team to Shuishong village and invested 200,000 yuan to establish an agricultural experiment and a demonstration base of 13 mu in Shuitong village. The team introduced there such kinds of fruit and vegetables as tomato, fruit cucumber, Baozijie (a kind of vegetables), Sunzijie (a kind of Brassica juncea Coss which stem expands to be fleshy but has no tumours), Spinach, Chinese cabbage, Pea, Lettuce and other vegetable varieties. The expert team provides technical support from variety selection, green production, establishment of facilities and other aspects throughout the whole process to ensure that both the output and quality meet the standards. As a result, the vegetable industry has become a pillar industry for Aba prefecture to increase income.
Full of distinctive features, Tibetan Incense Pig is a traditional local product, however, it did not produce large-scale economic benefits. SWUST sent animal husbandry experts to “Maoergai “(the main industry area) who were dedicated to carry out all the science and technology service work for pig industry. They carried out the construction of a nursery of progenitor and three core groups of propagation of parent generation as base construction in Maoergai, the main industry area. Up to now, it has bred about standard 300 Maoergai boars, producing nearly ten thousand pigs in main producing area.
Suoliutou village has a tradition of beekeeping, and honey has become more and more popular in the market there. SWUST has sent out poverty alleviation teams to this village to guide the beekeepers in turning agricultural products into commodities. In 2018, 200,000 yuan was donated to develop the bee industry. By ensuring all the villagers to take part, the team focused on the poor households and gave key support to those with large-scale production. In one year, the breeding quantity expanded from dozens of boxes to 660 boxes, with more than 2,800 jin (1 jin=0.5 kilogram) of honey. In 2020, the scale has been continuing to expand.
In view of the large number of middle-aged and elderly people and the weak labor force, in early 2019, SWUST invested 250,000 yuan in setting up a standardized chicken farm in the Suoliutou village and developed the circular agriculture of combination of planting and raising there. SWUST sent people to this village to set up a professional management team and hired two leaders of the idea of getting rich in the village to participate in the whole layer breeding management. The team would help the villagers to be familiar with the chicken farm from the chicken house site selection planning, construction, the introduction of chicken seedlings, feed procurement, disinfection and epidemic prevention as well as egg sales. They followed the procedure of demonstrating the process of growing chickens to the villagers and then teaching them how to do it, followed by leading them to earn money. After a year, the local collective economy developed from scratch and let everyone have dividends in the village. By the end of December 2019, 180,000 eggs have been produced.
High quality public welfare: let consumers cannot help but choose it
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in 2020, the sales of many agricultural and livestock products have been impacted, with the Ecological Eggs of Qiang Ethnic Minority in Lisuotou village being in short supply. In the Aba poverty center of Jingdong, a small shop with display functions sold 7,600 eggs in two months. In May, the provincial department of ecology and environment union purchased a one-time order of 6,800 eggs; in two WeChat groups, 502 people have become the egg's old customers; in 4 local distribution points, they usually send goods at least once a week, each time no less than 5,000 pieces; local people also have consumer demands, and the farms directly give them 40 dividends per capita, a total of 11,040 dividends during the epidemic period...
At first, purchasing instead of donating was just a public welfare behavior. But in the laying hens project in Liusuotou village, they strictly established a modern production and management system to ensure the quality of the products. Consumers changed from doing public welfare work to being willing to buy the eggs, which helped the laying hens project achieve a real sustainable development.
In recent years, SWUST established its own stable working mode. The school leaders will play the key role in mapping out plans, hundreds of experts will be sent to villages to give guidance and the working team members will take the lead. With special funds, and actual practical and effective approaches, the local people not only get their awareness of economy improved, but also build a sustainable, efficient modern management mode. This institutional guarantee is an expansion in depth for poverty alleviation by consumption.
Taking the advantage of Agricultural Science, Economic Management and other disciplines, SWUST has set up a team of 100 scientists and technicians for the Three Areas*. The university Technical Task Force has also conducted an activity of Poverty Alleviation Miles. They carried out training in the fields and have been sending technology to the village for years to effectively ensure the high-quality production of agricultural products. The Night School for Farmers of SWUST not only enables farmers to master practical skills, but also to comprehend theoretical knowledge, so as to improve their ability to effectively connect with the market. For example, in the village of Maoergai, a team of experts trained more than 500 farmers, promoted 4 new techniques of eco-farming, distributed more than 1,000 copies of materials, and led 40 farmers to eco-farming, thus establishing a good production and sales network system. In Suoliutou village, they have been dedicated to building a stable team, which can stay there, giving full play to the leading role of the basic party branch, and founded the specialized cooperatives of village together with establishing a professional management team. They set up the Financial and Personnel Management System of Collective Economy of Suoliutou Village, aiming to ensure the long-term development of the collective economy through scientific management and institutional constraints.
Effective marketing: make great efforts to open channels
Selling good products is a kind of technical skill. On the one hand, people should make use of modern technical advantages. On the other hand, people should adjust measures to local conditions. In this way, SWUST made great efforts to solve the problem.
“Internet+”, in multiple aspects
Ecological eggs have received a favorable reception in Jingdong mall; the strawberry has been introduced and promoted in WeChat Official Account; for six consecutive years, the teachers led nearly 20 students to form a scientific and technological poverty alleviation team. During the summer vacation, they took photos and wrote on the site and promoted agricultural and livestock products on WeChat and Weibo. They established the WeChat group of purchasing Paoshanji (a kind of chicken in the local place), invited chefs regularly to make practical recipes and do live tutorials to stimulate consumers' buying interest online; The WeChat group of ecological eggs continues to expand so that consumers can order them directly... At the same time, SWUST also has made use of teachers majoring in e-commerce to carry out professional training for local people. SWUST has trained more than 1,000 people in Butuo county and Songpan county to engage in e-commerce and rural tourism, and constantly improved the production, supply and service guarantee capacity of high-quality consumer goods in poor areas.
The Colorful New Ways of off-line Offline Marketing
Due to the features of Tibetan Incense Pig, SWUST has established professional company to operate it. In Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong scenic spots, their products have been placed on the tourist consumer product counters. In the provincial innovation and entrepreneurship competition, the agricultural products promotion creativity won the gold medal…
The university continues to strive for the principle of purchasing rather than donating. Combined with methods like purchasing of dining halls, and sending the welfare and the condolence for its staff, the School Logistics Group, the School Trade Union, and the Secondary Trade Union of the Department took precedence in purchasing agricultural special products from poor areas. They also established sales spots in the school and a dining hall to sell agricultural special products as well as processed products. From 2017 to now, the School Logistics Group, the School Trade Union and other departments have purchased nearly 2 million-yuan agricultural products from poverty-stricken areas every year, which has opened up sales channels for agricultural products and increased farmers' income.
Dredge the blockage; Think more carefully
When the team first arrived at Wuyi village in Butuo county in 2018, they felt helpless and the local people's awareness of commodities was almost zero. After investigation, SWUST decided to help a pheasant project, but no one dared to take the initiative. After the university promised to help with sales, a village official took the lead and raised 1, 000 baby chicks. However, half a year later, when the pheasants could be sold, they were waiting for the school to purchase. The long distance transportation greatly increased the operating cost. The school had to guide them to take the initiative to connect with the market and sell the products around. Though there was not even a canteen in the village for dozens of kilometers around, the school invested 100,000 yuan in the first phase to establish the Self-Strengthening Supermarket in the village. The poverty alleviation officials led the villagers to learn how to operate the supermarket and gradually set up the local people's awareness of commodity economy. In June, 2019, it was transferred to Wuyi village for self-operation, with a monthly turnover of more than 10,000 yuan.
The Baiyang township where Suoliutou village is located is more than 300 kilometers away from the county. There is no bank in the township. Therefore, the rural cooperatives set up a company account in Piankou township in Beichuan. The cost of local express delivery was so high that the school's task force turned to the Sichuan Postal Administration for help, which attached great importance to it and coordinated with the postal administration of Mianyang and Aba Tibetan as well as Qiang autonomous prefecture to hold an on-site office meeting in Liusuotou village. It completely solved the problem of Baiyang township express delivery business needing to go to the county first for turnover, and greatly reduced the selling cost of agricultural products. In 2020, SWUST invested another 120,000 yuan to extend the production road in the county.
It is launched in full scale and everyone represent for it.
On the one hand, SWUST seized the opportunity of the school sports meeting, the trade union activity, the practice activity of students serving the countryside from three aspects (culture, technology and hygiene) to develop green channels in displaying and advertising poverty alleviation products, so as to enhance the sale. On the other hand, officials in charge of poverty alleviation, together with the villagers, develop the concept that everyone is a salesman. No one should forget to bring the agricultural and livestock products with hometown characteristics and become a spokesman of their hometown. When the migrate workers go back to work and when the villagers visit their relatives and friends, they will bring their products and introduce them.
(Edited by Wu anhui | Translated by Li Shiqi)
*Three Areas: a term of poverty alleviation, short for remote poor areas, border areas with mainly ethnic minority populations, and old revolutionary base areas.