China today

Residents benefit in quest for a brighter future

2017-07-11 08:05:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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Editor's note: In the run-up to the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress, China Daily is reporting on a number of key projects of national importance that showcase the country's great improvements in crucial fields, such as recent reforms aimed at improving living standards and creating a moderately prosperous society by 2020. This is the second report looking at the effects of reform in the country's rural areas.

A man feeds chickens in a clearing in Wuping. [Photo by LIN SHANCHUAN/XINHUA]

The lives of people in one region of Southeast China have been boosted by an unorthodox approach to poverty alleviation that has seen pioneering reform of the collective ownership system for woodland, Hou Liqiang and Hu Meidong report from Wuping county, Fujian province.

In 2001, Wuping county, Fujian province, pioneered reform of the collective ownership system for woodland, and reaped great rewards by allocating forestry assets to individual families.

The county's experience is now being promoted nationwide and reform is continuing. In the latest round, the county government has been instrumental in establishing village cooperatives that help farmers to secure loans and start businesses related to the forestry sector.

Although it is against regulations for cooperatives to offer credit guarantees, some officials are prepared to turn a blind eye and satisfy demand from local residents.

In 2015, Zhong Xinwen wanted to expand his plant nursery. However, he owned very few forestry assets so the only way he could obtain a loan was to find four people, including two public servants, who would offer credit guarantees on his behalf. After spending three months visiting all the public servants he knew or had ever been introduced to, Zhong only managed to find one person who was prepared to help.

The 51-year-old resident of Yuanding village in Wuping despaired, and was on the verge of abandoning his expansion plans when he heard that a bonding cooperative was being set up in the village that would provide credit guarantees for loan applicants.

Zhong was delighted to find that the cooperative made his life easier by arranging a 100,000 yuan ($14,680) loan in less than a week and that only one person would be required to use their forestry assets as collateral for his venture.

The money he received allowed Zhong to expand his nursery by nearly 3 hectares, which helped raise his income "by a substantial amount".

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