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THE RURAL POOR SPEAK

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					           I FA D I N C H I N A


THE RURAL POOR SPEAK
CONTENTS

The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong
Integrated Agricultural Development Project        4
The Jiangxi/Ganzhou Integrated Agricultural
Development Project                                4
The Southwest Anhui Integrated Agricultural
Development Project                                5
A typical profile of a village                     6
Agricultural Development                           7
     Increasing production                         7
     Introducing new technologies                  8
     Improving livestock                          10
     Supporting irrigation schemes                11
     Growing fruit trees                          12
     Improving the soil                           14
Income-Generating Activities                      15
     Making tiles                                 15
     A shoe factory in the mountains              16
     Weaving carpets                              17
Credit Lines for Women                            19
     Opening a convenience store                  19
     Opening a home-based store                   20
Social Development                                21
     Training for women                           21
     Farmers sell their backyard-grown bamboo     23
     Cui zue: a star in the dabieshan mountains   24
                                     THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




The People’s Republic of China is the third-largest
country in the world and home to more than 1.2 billion
people. It is a vast collage of sea-coast, fertile plains and
valleys, rugged mountains and arid wind-swept deserts.
Indeed, China’s vastness and diversity are in many
ways an embodiment of the problems and challenges
facing small farmers and pastoralists throughout the
developing world. Population pressures strain the
productive capacity of the 10% of the land that is
suitable for sustained cultivation; increasing numbers of
livestock compete for fodder on fragile rangelands;
flood-prone areas and deteriorating irrigation systems
cause waterlogging and salinization; encroaching
deserts threaten formerly productive land.
   The efforts of the Chinese Government to stimulate
economic growth have focused largely on stimulating
the productivity of its enormous rural population. In
the late 1970s, the Government introduced the
household responsibility system (HRS), which was a
major shift away from a collective system to one in
which individual households had greater control and
decision-making powers over the land and other
resources they used. At the same time, the Government
gradually relaxed its control over markets and prices.




                                                        ONE
   As a result of these policy shifts, China has been
undergoing impressive and continuous economic
growth since 1978. By 2001 per capita incomes had
tripled, and the number of absolute poor had
decreased from about 260 million to 30 million people.
Unfortunately, the recent slow-down in economic
development following the financial crisis in Asia has
taken its toll on China. Unemployment rates are
higher, and absolute poverty is on the rise. The                  IFAD regularly reviews its strategies for alleviating
Government is stepping up investments in rural areas           poverty in China, and its latest strategy is the result of
and promoting consumption to sustain the pace of               a continuous review of experiences from its earlier
economic development.                                          projects and the lessons learned from introducing
   The International Fund for Agricultural Development         innovative features in each new project. All of its
(IFAD) began operations in China in 1981 with its              projects target the most vulnerable rural groups –
Northern Pasture and Livestock Development Project. Since      whether they live in poor provinces or in deprived
then, IFAD has supported 15 additional projects in the         pockets of otherwise prosperous regions – helping
country. Since 1996 all projects are cofinanced by             them to become productive and increase their incomes,
the World Food Programme (WFP), and the rural                  and thus improve their standard of living in a
credit cooperatives (RCCs) are the main formal                 sustainable manner. Each new project seeks to support
institutions responsible for financial activities within the   an average of 300 000 households in achieving food
projects. Five projects are currently in operation.            security. Projects are designed with a wide variety of
   IFAD projects have a number of special features in          activities to help poor households realize their potential
their approach. These include:                                 capacities as producers, including:
G   improved targeting down to the township level;             G   food-for-work to improve agricultural
G   strong village-level participation in planning and             infrastructure and expand arable land;
    implementing projects;                                     G   microcredit to develop cash crops, livestock, fish
G   skills training and microcredit to promote income-             farming and non-farm income-generating activities;
    generating activities; and                                 G   health and education facilities; and
G   gender focal points to ensure that the specific needs      G   food-for-training for functional literacy and
    of women and men are being addressed.                          technical skills-building.




TWO
                                                                                         THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                                                             BEIJING




                                   Sichuan province        Anhui province
                                                                                              SHANGHAI




                                                                                       Jiangxi province
                                                              Chongqing
                                                              municipality




          Project Areas




   Since it started working with the Government more
than 20 years ago, IFAD has assisted millions of rural
people in improving their livelihoods – and their lives.
Many of them have been eager to tell of the
transformations, both large and small, that have taken
place. The pages that follow are devoted to describing
some of the transformations that have resulted from
the following three projects in the country.




                                                                                                          THREE
               The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong
               Integrated Agricultural Development Project

This project was approved in 1996 and is the first
one in collaboration with WFP. The total project cost
USD 108 million with a WFP food contribution of
around USD 23 million (120 million tonnes of food). It
                                                                               The Jiangxi/Ganzhou Integrated
is being carried out in three of the poorest provinces in                     Agricultural Development Project
China, in areas that are very remote and characterized
by severe food deficits. Its main objectives are to ensure   This project, approved in 1995 with a total cost of
food security, to increase the income and improve the        USD 49 million and concluded in 2001, focused on five
living conditions of 370 000 households. The focus is        of the poorest counties in south-east China’s Jiangxi
on increasing agricultural production through                province. The steep hills and narrow valleys of the area
irrigation, terracing and soil deepening. The project        limit the amount of arable land available to farmers, so
also provides credit for investments in livestock            that insufficient grain is produced to meet normal
production – pig fattening, sow breeding and the             household food requirements. The project assisted
purchase of goats and cattle – and training in improved      about 160 000 households in strengthening their food
technologies for crop and livestock production.              security through increased grain production. This was
Furthermore, it provides training for more than              achieved by improving irrigation, drainage and soil
100 000 women in literacy and business skills. In            quality, and by providing high-quality seeds. The
addition, women are provided with gynaecological             households’ cash income was increased by additional
health care, hygiene and food training. Another              livestock production and farming activities such as
feature of the project is the construction of about 340      planting fruit trees. The majority of the project funds
kilometres of village roads that facilitate the marketing    (approximately USD 20 million) were disbursed as
of agricultural products and the connections between         credit to smallholder producers. To assure that
the township and the villages.                               small-scale credit was available to poorer farming
                                                             communities, and women in particular, IFAD
                                                             supported the capacity-building of grass-roots rural
                                                             financial institutions. The project also implemented a
                                                             livestock development programme designed not only
                                                             to provide households with meat, but also to maximize
                                                             the efficient use of crop residues. Fattening and
                                                             breeding pigs were the main livestock activities, which
                                                             also benefit the soil because of the organic manure
                                                             produced.




FOUR
                                                                 IFAD in China since 1981

                                                                 Project Name                                  Total Project    Loan
                                                                                                                   Cost        Amount
                                                                                                               (USD Million) (SDR Million)

                                                                 West Guangxi Poverty-Alleviation
                                                                 Project                                         107.27          23.80
The Southwest Anhui Integrated                                   Qinling Mountain Area Poverty-Alleviation
Agricultural Development Project                                 Project                                         106.34          21.00
                                                                 Wulin Mountains Minority-Areas
   This five-year project, approved in 1997 with a total         Development Project                             107.25          21.10
   cost of USD 51 million and a WFP contribution of              Southwest Anhui Integrated Agricultural
   USD 2.3 million (14 000 million tonnes of food), aims         Development Project                              55.67          19.10
   to alleviate the chronic poverty of very poor                 Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong
   households in the poorest townships of the five poorest       Integrated Agricultural Development Project     108.11          19.10
   counties in Anhui province. The objectives of the
                                                                 Jiangxi/Ganzhou Integrated Agricultural
   project are to increase household food security by
                                                                 Development Project                              48.83          15.95
   developing land and increasing productivity; to
   facilitate access to financial services by promoting grass-   Qinghai/Hainan Prefecture Agricultural
   roots and rural financial intermediaries; and to create       Development Project                              40.27          13.50
   cash income opportunities. The project seeks to reach         Yunnan-Simao Minorities Area Agricultural
   500 000 people. A special feature of the project is the       Development Project                              50.66          18.14
   literacy training provided to 30 000 women, and the           Jilin Low-lying Land Development Project         55.22          20.00
   technical training (in agricultural and income-
                                                                 Shanxi Integrated Agricultural Development
   generating skills) to about 70 000 women. A special
                                                                 Project                                          50.63          17.85
   credit line is also reserved for these women.
       The stories told by the beneficiaries of these projects   Shandong/Yantai Agricultural Development
   do not have ‘happily ever after’ endings. They do,            Project                                          42.90          16.80
   however, show the significant strides that can be made        Sichuan Livestock Development Project            34.65          13.40
   in combating hunger and poverty with proper                   Guangdong Integrated Freshwater Fish
   activities, coordination and collaboration – and if the       Farming Project                                  30.98            9.79
   rural poor themselves are at the centre of the process.
                                                                 Rural Credit Project                             71.40          24.25
                                                                 Hebei Agricultural Development Project           51.50          22.90
                                                                 Northern Pasture and Livestock
                                                                 Development Project                              64.20          28.70




                                                                                                                        FIVE
                                    A TYPICAL PROFILE
                                         OF A VILLAGE

Who are we?
We are more than 123 000 families living in 438 poor
villages, spread across the five poorest counties of the
Anhui province. Most of our villages are in the
mountains, and it is a hard and long walk to the nearest
place where we can find health care and buy clothes,
seeds and household goods. Most of the time we don’t
have the money to buy anything. Most families send at
least one member away to look for work and earn some
money, but someone strong has to stay behind with the
family to do the fieldwork and look after the women,
the children, the old and the sick. Normally we all           What do we ask of your projects?
live together in a small old house and have less than         Above all, we want to grow more food. Land is scarce,
0.13 hectares of arable land, which is too little to grow     so we need to grow at least two crops per year and get
enough food. Even when we are able to plant fruit             better yields. This can be done by draining the cold
trees and collect products in the forests, our annual         water from our land, improving water storage and
income is only about USD 63 per person. Many families         irrigation facilities, levelling and terracing some
depend on relief food from the government or relatives        dryland, and also protecting our fields from floods with
for several months of the year.                               dikes. We need easy access to credit so we can buy
                                                              animals, better seeds, fertilizer and essential chemicals.
Why are we poor?                                              We also need training. We would especially like credit
Our small plots of land are mostly on the mountain            to buy animals because they are profitable and we can
slopes, and we are too many people. Much of the good          keep them near the house where it is easy for the
land fills with cold water, which greatly reduces our         women to look after them. We want to learn how to
yields and restricts us to one crop per year. Other land      become and stay healthy and we need to have access
is too dry or too steep. It is hard to do all the work, and   to good drinking water. We also want to plant fruit
most of us cannot grow enough rice and wheat to feed          trees so that we can increase our incomes on a more
the family. Most of us also do not have enough money          permanent basis. We want to learn to read and write so
to buy more food and send our children to school. So          that we can learn new technology, have access to credit
our children, like us, cannot read or write, and will not     and find better jobs. We should not forget about
be able to find good jobs when they are older. Because        improving the road from our village to the township, so
of the lack of food, many of us are sick, especially          that we can reach the shops more easily and also sell
the women.                                                    our products at a better price.




SIX
                                                                                              THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                              AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT


INCREASING PRODUCTION

The Jiangxi/Ganzhou Integrated Agricultural
Development Project
Qinxi village in Youshi township, Shangyou county
(Jiangxi province)

Qiu Zixian lives in Qinxi village with other members of
his family – his wife, two children (20 and 17 years old)
and his parents. The oldest child is working in
Southern China and brings home some 1 200 yuan
renmimbi (CNY) (about USD 145) a year, and the
youngest attends senior middle school in Shangyou.           rice, peanuts, beans and other vegetables. The family
The tuition is quite steep for the family to handle –        also has two pigs and 20 chickens. They produce
CNY 994 per semester. But Qiu thinks schooling is            enough rice, vegetables and meat to feed the family,
important and does not expect this burden to last more       and every year there is even enough to sell some
than a few more years.                                       produce in the market.
   Qiu’s parents are 78 and 79 years old and in good            In 1996, Qiu borrowed CNY 700 from the project to
health. He considers himself fortunate that his parents      plant tea trees on the land around his house. He had to
are healthy and do not require care and expensive            borrow an additional CNY 500 from the rural credit
medicine. In fact, Qiu’s mother can look after her           corporative, but the problem with the corporative is
eight-year-old grand daughter, while the rest of the         that they will not give loans that cover the entire
family work in the fields or do other chores. Qiu’s sister   investment. So even though their rates are lower than
and her husband have both gone to town to work as            the project rates, their loans are smaller and the
wage labourers. Since they spend over half the year          repayment terms are also not as good. Qiu had worked
away, their daughter lives in the village with the rest of
the family.
   The extended family has 8 mu of land (1 mu =
0.07 ha). Until 1999, 2 mu of the land was sparsely
forested wasteland. The remaining land is planted with




                                                                                                             SEVEN
with tea plantations in the cooperative before it went
private in 1983. But the tea varieties he worked with at
that time were of very low quality and would not be
marketable now. Before taking the loan for the tree
plantation, he attended training provided by the
project. He benefited most from training on the
                                                                                                INTRODUCING
specific requirements of the new tea varieties and
techniques to improve the soil before planting.                                      NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Fortunately, he has some forested land, where he is
only allowed to cut trees selectively. Although his trees                      The Jiangxi/Ganzhou Integrated Agricultural
are not yet old enough to cut, he can collect grass and                                             Development Project
other ground cover there to fertilize the soil around the         Linyong village in Manzhang township, Shanyong county
tea trees. Qiu’s neighbours helped him wheel the grass                                                  (Jiangxi province)
from the forested plot on the hillside to the tea
plantation close to his house. The neighbours, whose        Like many of the villages on sloping land in or near the
houses are build close together in their little sub-        mountains, Linyong village has a protected forest area.
village, often help each other with equipment and           Although the land is divided into individual plots, the
labour, so that there are always enough hands around        families have grouped together so that each sub-village
for any special activity.                                   manages the protected forest area collectively. The
    The tea trees are now nearly one metre tall, and last   sub-village has designated a group leader who is
year Qiu was able to earn almost CNY 2 000 from their       responsible for managing the protected forest and
yield. He expects to earn at least CNY 3 000 next year,     ensures that regulations are adhered to. The person
when yields will increase. He would like to save enough     chosen is someone whom everyone trusts.
money to construct a water pond for additional                 Linyong villagers are planting the sloping land with
irrigation of his tea plantation. His real dream though     fruit trees – mostly plum and pear trees. The village
is to generate enough income from his farm activities to    grew fruit trees in the past, but by the 1970s there was
feed the entire extended family. But then, of course –      no market for fruit so the trees were not tended to and
he adds laughing – they would need to add extra             were eventually cut for firewood. In the last two
rooms to the house!                                         decades, the market for fruit has grown, and the




EIGHT
                                                                                              THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                                          generator, but lacked the necessary savings. The only
                                                          official source of credit that he knew of was the
                                                          Agricultural Bank, and as far as he knew, it only lent
                                                          small amounts for agricultural inputs. What he needed
                                                          was a sizable loan that could help him invest both
                                                          in the biogas generator, which cost CNY 1 000, and in
                                                          improvements to his pigpens.
                                                              In 1998, he obtained a substantial loan through the
                                                          IFAD-funded project. He bought two pigs, enlarged his
                                                          pigpens and installed a biogas generator. The idea was
                                                          to collect the manure from the pigpen, extract the
                                                          biogas from the manure and use the remaining manure
                                                          as fertilizer in the fields. Once Chen started the project,
                                                          it became complicated because the family’s toilet and the
                                                          pigsty ended in one pit. To make the biogas generator
                                                          efficient, both the pigsty and the toilet had to be moved.
former work units are now setting up the slopes to        For reasons of safety and hygiene, the generator had to
cultivate fruits once again.                              be placed at a distance from the house. In time, two
   Chen Diyuan is 57 years old. He and his wife farm      large pigpens and a toilet were built approximately
3 mu of land, which they and their daughter have been     100 metres from the house. The manure container and
assigned. They take care of their four-year-old           the biogas generator were placed underground and
grandson while their daughter is away earning a living.   adjacent to the pigpens and the toilet.
The family is doing well – they are self-sufficient in        Chen is very happy with his investment. The biogas
terms of their food needs. They keep ducks and four       generator is saving the Chen household money on
pigs, and they have fresh fish from their fishpond.       electricity. In addition, the fertilizer by-product of the
Chen’s family has saved enough money to buy an ox for     generator is more effective than the manure that used
ploughing, which they share with one of their             to be spread on the fields. Chen’s wife no longer has to
neighbours. The ox has reduced their workload, and        spend time each day collecting firewood, since the
fortunately not too much extra fodder needs to be         biogas is also used for cooking. The gas burner she now
collected from the collective forest patch to feed it.    uses is easier and quicker to handle, and requires less
Chen grazes the ox on nearby ditches, which he and his    cleaning than the fireplace. Since more and more
neighbours have planted with grass.                       villagers have installed the generators, fewer people
   Several years ago, an informal meeting was held in     are collecting firewood to mix with manure to make
the village, during which a technician talked about a     fertilizer. In this way, the villagers are also contributing
new kind of biogas generator for individual               positively to the greening of the protected forest area
households. Chen was keen on investing in the             for which they are responsible.




                                                                                                                NINE
                                                                    Xiang Meiju is 48 years old and lives with her
                                                                 husband, Xiang Deqing, in Qingzhan village. Their
                                                                 24-year-old son lives and works in Guangzhou, from
                                                                 where he occasionally sends money to his parents.
                                                                 Xiang has 6 mu of dryland on which she produces
                                                                 potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat and corn. As she wanted
                                                                 to diversify her income, she applied for a loan from the
                                                                 rural credit cooperative several times, but the demand
                                                                 for credit was high and she had to wait. In 1998, she
                                                                 received a loan from the IFAD-financed project and
                                                                 bought three pigs of a high-yielding white variety, which
                                                                 can be resold for a much higher price than the local
                                                                 black variety. Since she was used to raising the black
                      IMPROVING LIVESTOCK                        variety, she joined a training class offered by the project
                                                                 and learned how to manage the white pigs. Her second
      The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong Integrated       loan in 1999 was invested in a fourth pig. Xiang can now
                            Agricultural Development Project     sell three pigs a year, compared with only one when she
        Ba She sub-village in Qingzhan village, Gulu township,   raised the local black variety.
                       Wuxi county (Chongqing municipality)         Last year, Xiang started another income-generating
                                                                 initiative: she planted mulberry bushes on the edges
Most people in Qingzhan village share a common                   of her field and started raising silkworms. It is a
family name – Xiang. This is not unusual in Chinese              good source of income – she
villages. The patriarchal tradition dictates that the            manages to sell a basket
family name is handed down through sons, and when                of silkworms for CNY 100,
young people marry the wife moves to the husband’s               investing only CNY 6 for
family – or at least to the same village. Thus, the              the young worms and a few
families of Xiang Meiju, Xiang Rui, Xiang Mionzhi and            hours of work to pick the
Xiang Huaji all belong to the same Xiang-surname                 mulberry leaves and feed
village.                                                         the worms.
    Qingzhan is situated in the mountains of                        Xiang is pleased that she
Chongqing. It is accessible by road, but the road is very        and her husband can eat
rocky and dangerous. It is surrounded by dryland and             rice every day. Just three
forest reserves. The people grow Chinese chestnuts               years ago, the family could
and fruit trees, particularly plum trees. Crop                   afford to eat rice only
production includes corn, potatoes, wheat, fodder                once a month or on special
plants, and a variety of beans and legumes.                      occasions.




TEN
                                                                                                     THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




    For the past three years, Xiang has gone for the
gynaecological check-ups provided by the project. The
first year she was given medicine for a disorder that she
was only vaguely aware that she had. Since then, the
yearly check-ups and information on practical hygiene
have ensured that the condition has not returned.
    Now that the family receives medical assistance and
their income has been secured, Xiang Meiju’s main
concern is that credit will continue to be available so
that she can increase their income further through
different investments.




                                                                 SUPPORTING IRRIGATION SCHEMES

                                                The Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture Integrated Agricultural Development Project)
                                                     Daligong village in Jingxi township, Langzhong county (Sichuan province)

Until recently the farmers in Daligong village had to          time of year when infrastructural improvements are
rely on rain to irrigate their soil and run-off water from     made by the food-for-work scheme. Zhang’s family
the mountains to provide drinking water. Soil quality          benefited from a soil improvement and irrigation
was poor, and crop yields were very low. The village was       system that was constructed with the project’s help. He
among the poorest in the province. In the last two             and his family used to farm their land mainly to feed
years, however, an irrigation system has been set up           themselves, occasionally selling any surplus. Now with
and activities to improve the soil have been undertaken.       the improved soil and irrigation system, they have
Together with these initiatives, credit has been made          plans to expand and diversify their agricultural
available to farmers for investments in production or          production. With a loan he took out last year, Zhang
other income-generating activities to increase their           bought seedlings for fruit trees, two pigs for fattening
livelihoods.                                                   and a few chickens. The trees will begin to bear fruit in
   Zhang Shikun, 57 years old, and his wife are taking         five years. By that time Zhang hopes that their farming
care of their young grandson, since their son and              activities will give them enough income to support the
daughter-in-law are both away earning extra income             whole family. Their dream of having their son and
for the family. Every year in late summer, his son comes       daughter-in-law come to stay with them in the village
home and stays until spring festival. This is also the         would finally be realised.




                                                                                                                    ELEVEN
                                                                     On hearing about the project’s microfinance
                                                                 component, Yang and Wang applied for a loan of
                                                                 CNY 500. Since they had only three chickens and a few
                                                                 pear trees, they immediately bought 120 chickens and
                                                                 seedlings for pear and peach trees. The land around
                      GROWING FRUIT TREES                        their house is suitable for growing peaches and pears,
                                                                 and the demand for those fruits in the local market is
      The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture       good. Both Yang and Wang had training on the
                Integrated Agricultural Development Project      pruning and nurturing of fruit trees. Today, they have
                     Chenjiagia village in Shenzong township     110 pear trees and 120 peach trees. They expect a
                                            (Sichuan province)   bumper harvest of pears and peaches. The fruit is sold
                                                                 for CNY 2 per kilogram. This year they expect to get
Yang Jing Xiu is 33 years old and lives with her                 2 kilograms of fruit from each tree: “Selling is not a
husband, Wang Xeubin, and their 10-year-old                      problem: the quality of our fruit is superb.”
daughter, Wang Ting, in Chenjiagia village in                        After they repaid the first loan, they took out a
Shenzong township. Wang Xuebin, who is 35 years old,             second loan. They maintain a constant number of 120
could not earn enough to feed the family from rice               chickens and sell the rest. Yuan sells chickens
farming only. The land was poor and often they faced             when they weigh 1.5 kilograms and gets CNY 10 per
two to three months of food shortages. Since they had            kilogram. “We make a profit of CNY 4 on each chicken.
to buy food during periods when they had no money,               It takes about three months for each chicken to reach
they also relied on government food relief.                      the weight of 1.5 kilograms”, says Wang.
                                                                     Four households in the neighbourhood shared a
                                                                 buffalo for ploughing. Yang and her husband work
                                                                 long hours. Wang sometimes finds non-farm work in
                                                                 Guangdong province. Their daughter goes to a local
                                                                 school, and Yang says: “Although I work for 15 hours a
                                                                 day, our girl goes to school. Education is what we want
                                                                 most for our daughter. After that, if I become rich, I
                                                                 want to help others to overcome their poverty. Having
                                                                 more to eat is not a problem if everyone gets just a little
                                                                 help to start off.”
                                                                     Yang’s house has running water that is piped from
                                                                 the well nearby, but she has to collect firewood from the
                                                                 fields for cooking. Despite long days, Yang says that she
                                                                 still has time to watch television.




T W E LV E
IMPROVING THE SOIL

The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture
Integrated Agricultural Development Project
Daligong village in Jingxi township, Langzhong county
(Sichuan province)

Ran Mochen is alone on his farm. His wife is away in          to start raising silkworms. In addition, he has planted
Guangzhou working in a factory. Three years ago, an           100 fruit trees on his 3 mu of land – plum, apple and
illness forced her to stop doing strenuous agricultural       Chinese chestnut trees – which should provide a good
work. She cannot come home every year, and the                yield within the next three years. Ran has not
telephone at the technician’s station near their house is     calculated how much income to expect – he says that he
the only way for them to stay in contact. Her earnings        will only be disappointed if profits are less than
are needed to cover school fees for their two children,       expected. But he hopes that he will have a good income
one of whom is in middle school in Shanghuang and             from the chestnuts and the yearly sale of three pigs. He
comes home only once a week. Their younger child is           started raising four pigs (up from two) with two loans
still in elementary school, but in two years he too will be   he took out in 1998 and 1999. These loans were a relief,
in middle school. Ran and his family still live in their      as he didn’t have to ‘sweet talk’ friends and family
earthen house. They are one of the few families not yet       anymore. He had borrowed from them before, and he
able to afford to take out a loan to build a new house.       feels that appealing to them for additional loans would
He feels that it is more important to keep the children       add to his ‘moral debt’. The project loans were
in school, and does not dare to take out a large loan for     uncomplicated, and he could use the money for exactly
a new house, although his wife saves CNY 4 000 a year.        the purposes he wanted, rather than having to listen to
    Ran benefited from the soil improvement scheme            the constant advice of his lenders. He has also paid the
financed by IFAD. He has planted mulberry trees on            money back on time.
the edges of his fields and in one-year’s time he expects




F O U RT E E N
                                                                                             THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                                  INCOME-GENERATING ACTIVITIES




MAKING TILES

The Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture Integrated Agricultural
Development Project)
Cidu village in Luopin township, Wushan county
(Chongqing municipality)

Zhuxian, a sub-village of Cidu, is the home of 15             The village has four kilns, but as customers are not
families who specialize in growing wheat and tobacco.      only from the village but also from further off, there is
They receive tobacco seeds from a Sichuan-based            business enough for everyone. Tile-making provides
tobacco company, which also buys all the tobacco they      Xu and her husband with extra income, making them
produce. As there is no paddy land in the sub-village,     less heavily dependent on their yearly CNY 4 000
the people go to the nearby township of Luopin to          income from tobacco. Now the family has enough work,
exchange their products for rice.                          and Wang no longer has to spend two months in town
   Xu Qingzhi, 38 years old, and her husband, Wang         each year working as a casual labourer.
Liping, 46, have two children aged 14 and 17 who go           The family is now taking out a second loan, this time
to upper middle school. Luckily, their schools are         of CNY 1 200. With the loan, they will hire additional
nearby so they can come home after school everyday         labour to assist them in expanding their business. Their
and their parents do not have to pay for boarding. The     present production is 40 000 tiles per year, and they
family lives in a seven-room mud house, which includes     hope to increase it to 60 000. This would give them a
two pigpens. Here, they fatten four pigs a year, two of    profit that is three times more than Wang would earn
which are for their own consumption.                       if he were to continue working two months a year
   In 1998, the family obtained a loan of CNY 700 from     in town.
an IFAD-financed project. They invested the money to
build a kiln to make baked clay tiles for roofing. The
clay they use for the tiles comes from a wasteland where
previously only grass had grown.




                                                                                                           FIFTEEN
A SHOE FACTORY IN THE MOUNTAINS

     The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture
                Integrated Agricultural Development Project
        Fung Xian village of Zhaong Guang (Anhui province)

Weng Manqin who is 24 years old is the coordinator of
a shoe factory in the village of Fung Xian in Zhaong
Guang township, Anhui province. The factory employs
mainly women, mostly farmers’ wives who have some
spare time. From 60 to 70 households earn extra
income from factory work. Women work here making
shoes by hand. The shoes are sold locally, although
some are sent to Shanghai. One of the 70 women
workers is responsible for marketing and receiving
orders from shopping centres.
   Weng has a three-and-a-half-year-old son, Xu
Xinxin, who stays with her when she works at the
factory. “We all benefit together from the factory. We
don’t have any problems understanding each other
and we divide the profits according to how much
labour each of us has invested.” The factory manager
usually buys the raw material for the shoes, which are
made of rough cotton. Each woman worker earns on
average CNY 200 per month. Weng says, “The extra
money we earn during our spare time is what we use to
buy clothes and other necessities for our families.”




SIXTEEN
                                                                                             THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                                           daughter look after their 4 mu of land. Two years ago,
                                                           she heard about the plans to open the carpet-weaving
                                                           workshop. After attending a training course in carpet
                                                           weaving, she invested her CNY 1 000 loan in a loom
                                                           and started weaving carpets on demand. The
                                                           workshop supervisor, who also taught the women how
                                                           to weave, brings in the orders and provides the yarn
                                                           and the patterns for the carpets. He also takes care of
                                                           the marketing and shipping. It suits Wang well that,
                                                           apart from farming, which keeps the family self-
                                                           sufficient in terms of their food needs, she can earn her
                                                           own money by weaving.
                                                               Chen Xiaoqiu has also taken out a loan to invest in
                                                           the carpet workshop. She is 26 years old, and her
                                                           three-year-old daughter stays at home with her
                                                           mother-in-law. Since her mother-in-law can no longer
                                                           help out in the fields, Chen and her husband farm the
                                                           3 mu of land that feeds the family. Chen is glad that she
                                                           has this opportunity to contribute to the family
WEAVING CARPETS                                            earnings, otherwise her husband would have to spend
                                                           more time away from home to secure income for the
The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture       family through wage labour.
Integrated Agricultural Development Project                    Luo Yuxiu hopes it will soon be her turn to take out
Wuma township, Langzhong county (Sichuan province)         a loan from the project. She is 40 years old and has an
                                                           18-year-old son who is away at school. Although her
In Wuma township, ten women have joined together to        husband stays away six to seven months per year to
invest in a carpet-weaving workshop. All of them have      work in town, they often have to borrow money
taken out individual loans and invested in looms and       informally to pay school fees and other living expenses.
yarn. The women live in or near the township, which        Luckily, Luo has relatives who can lend her a little now
allows them to earn extra income from weaving carpets      and then. But seeing the successes of her fellow
as well as to tend to their farms. Good weavers bring      villagers has spurred her to apply for a loan once the
home a substantial income – at least half of what their    present borrowers have repaid their loans. She is sure
husbands earn when they leave the village for seasonal     that the loans will be repaid because everyone knows
work as construction workers.                              each other and nobody would want to deprive their
   Wang Yuxian is 40 years old. Her husband works in       neighbours of the chance to enhance their livelihoods
the city most of the year, while she and her 16-year-old   by investing in business activities.




                                                                                                       SEVENTEEN
                                                                                               THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                                                 CREDIT LINES FOR WOMEN



OPENING A CONVENIENCE STORE

The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture
Integrated Agricultural Development Project
Daquan village in Gulu township, Wuxi county
(Chongqing municipality)

Daquan village is situated in Gulu township at an            goods, such as rice wine, cigarettes and shampoo, and
altitude of 1 300 metres. The village used to be largely     agricultural production items such as fertilizer. Wang
inaccessible, until a six-kilometre road from the            also has one of the two existing phones in the village.
township to the village was constructed in 1998 with         She charges a standard fee of CNY 0.5 for each call.
the assistance of the project. Thanks to this new access     The store has a small apothecary, where her husband
road, the village can market its products in larger          can administer vaccinations when he is home and
quantities. The village has also received support for soil   Wang can sell medicine.
improvement on 292 mu of its land, which has                    Wang and her husband are pleased with the new
improved crop yields. These developments have meant          business. It helps them to keep their two children in
increased income for many villagers. The new                 school, and one of them even in boarding school. Now
prosperity is clearly visible in the village, where nearly   they are paying back the money they borrowed from
all residents are constructing brick houses to replace       family and friends to cover the CNY 30 000 cost of
their earthen ones.                                          building their house. Wang hopes that her son will pass
   Wang Xiaojin, 39 years old, and her husband,              the entrance exams to upper middle school and even
Zhang Waidi, chose to build their house on a new plot,       study beyond that level. She is confident that they will
directly facing the new road. While this meant that they     be able to cover school costs for the next two years.
had to clear a plot of rocky wasteland, it made good
business sense for them to incur the extra costs. With a
loan obtained in 1998, Wang opened the village’s only
convenience store. Since her husband works as a
doctor’s assistant in Shuanghao Hospital during the
week, she tends the store. They sell both consumer




                                                                                                          NINETEEN
         OPENING A HOME-BASED STORE

         The Northeast Sichuan and Qinghai/Haidong Prefecture
         Integrated Agricultural Development Project
         Daligong village in Jingxi township, Langzhong county
         (Sichuan province)

         Zhang Shizen and his wife have two children, one more
         than allowed by China’s one-child policy. They were
         given permission to have their second child, a daughter
         who is now three, because their son is epileptic.
         Although his life is much like that of any other 12-year-
         old boy, he does not go to school. Zhang’s family has
         many mouths to feed, but not as many able-bodied
         hands to help as needed, as their family also includes
         his elderly mother and his brother, who is deaf.
            Last year, Zhang’s wife received a special credit loan
         for women. With this loan, the family started a small
         convenience store. The store operates out of an extra
         room in their mud-brick house, so family members can
         go about their daily chores and take care of customers
         at the same time. The whole family pitches in to keep
         the store running, but Zhang’s mother and his wife are
         around the house most of the time and receive any
         potential customers. Since the store has just started, it
         is difficult to estimate how much money will be made
         from the business. Nobody in the family has any
         experience running a business of this sort, so they will
         have to learn as they go along. But the extra income
         will come in handy, and tending the store is something
         that the family members who cannot work in the fields
         can do.




TWENTY
                                                                                                      THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                                               SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT




TRAINING FOR WOMEN

The Southwest Anhui Integrated Agricultural Development Project
Chenfan village in Jiutian township,Taihu county (Anhui province)

Chenfen village lies at the foot of a range of hills, in the
mountainous southwest county of Taihu in Anhui. The
road that leads to the village is a good dirt road and
runs along a creek full of water.
    Hu Songmei’s house is a traditional Chinese
farmhouse – a centre room, one room to the left and
one to the right. The first floor is used to store food.
The family has some old chairs and a centre table, but
no television or radio. In the neighbourhood, there are
two new white-tiled houses, the style being used
everywhere in rural China as a sign of new prosperity.              introduced in 2000. Hu participated in a training
    Hu has passed her thirties. She comes from Fenshu               programme on hybrid rice and afterwards decided to
village, also in Jiutian township. She met her husband              buy the seeds.
in Chenfan during the spring festival. They have been                  In 2000, she also participated in literacy courses and
married for 12 years and have two daughters, Yu                     can now read and write. She smiles when she mentions
Yuxia, 12, and Yu Xin, 10. Both attend school.                      that she can now read her children’s schoolbooks,
    Hu keeps three pigs in a concrete stall. She                    which are the only reading material she has. She is not
purchased the pigs through a loan from the IFAD                     sure whether other people respect her more since she
project, and so far she has been able to keep up with               has received these different types of training, but she
the repayments. She also tends to their 13 chickens.                certainly feels stronger. She hopes that her new
Her husband, Yu Xanggui, five years older, farms their              knowledge and skills will enable her to increase her
2 mu of rice and 1 mu of rapeseed. Yields of their last             income so that she can give her daughters a good
harvest increased due to a new hybrid-rice variety                  education.




                                                                                                              TWENTY ONE
                                                                                               THE RURAL POOR SPEAK




                                                            The plants now hire the farmers as workers, enabling
                                                            farmers to earn on average an additional CNY 500 per
                                                            month.
                                                                Liu Dahua and his wife Zhang Ligun sell the
                                                            bamboo they grow in their backyard to the bamboo-
                                                            processing plant. They are pleased with the change in
                                                            the quality of their lives brought about by the project.
                                                            Liu says, “Although we work hard, ten hours a day, our
                                                            life is much better. We can buy more food for the
                                                            family, and can support our grown-up children. I have
                                                            a bicycle and we ride to work together. We are also
                                                            saving money to build a house next year.”
                                                                Some 30 households are benefiting from working in
FARMERS SELL THEIR                                          the bamboo factory. Usually the local variety of bamboo
BACKYARD-GROWN BAMBOO                                       is most popular. Before the project began, some
                                                            participants had only worked on their homesteads
The Southwest Anhui Integrated Agricultural                 growing bamboo on a small scale. Now they are earning
Development Project                                         money by selling bamboo to the factory and working
Tong Shui village of Fu Zi Ling township (Anhui province)   there too. Today Liu and Zhang earn CNY 500 each per
                                                            month in addition to the income from bamboo sales.
In Tong Shui village of Fu Zi Ling township in Huo          Liu says, “My husband helps with cooking at home and
Shan county, a bamboo-processing factory provides a         we work together to feed the pigs. The washing is of
steady income for many villages. The village is in Anhui    course left to me.” They want their grandchildren to
province, which is situated in southeast China and is       have higher education and to work in Beijing. Liu has
host to the famous Yellow Mountains. The region has         never been out of her township and has only had three
limited arable land and faces acute food shortages for      years of schooling. With their new-found freedom as
almost half the year. The rural people in this              owners of a bicycle, they ride together to work, which is
mountainous area must find ways to generate income          21/2 kilometres away. The manager of the bamboo
in order to buy food during shortages. Only growing         factory, Gao Ke, 42, is optimistic. He says, “The workers
bamboo and tea does not guarantee a steady supply           receive good training. Sometimes they are sent to other
of food.                                                    factories to learn. Specialists are also invited from time
   The project’s microfinance scheme gave each farmer       to time to train the workers.”
the opportunity to apply for a loan of about CNY 2 500          The farmers themselves say that this microfinance
(USD 150). With the money they were able to improve         scheme is a unique example of rural development,
the quality of bamboo and tea they were growing. The        because it takes households into account and connects
bamboo was then sold to bamboo-processing plants.           them to markets at home and abroad.




                                                                                                     twenty THREE
                     CUI ZUE: A STAR IN THE DABIESHAN MOUNTAINS

                     The Southwest Anhui Integrated Agricultural Development Project
                     Fung Xian village, Zhaong Guang township (Anhui province)

Cui Zue lives in Fung Xian village in Zhaong Guang
township, Anhui province. The township is in the
southwest part of Yue Xi county.
   Cui, who is 40, has been married for 16 years and is
the family breadwinner. The family has been facing
hard times because of poor production from their land.
When she heard about the project, she decided to
apply for credit to raise pigs. First she had to discuss
the loan with the village leaders’ group. Two months
later she obtained a loan of CNY 1 000. She was able to
raise and sell a sufficient number of pigs to repay the
loan in one year. Having started with one pig, today she
has 12. The piglets are sold for CNY 150 when they are
two months old. She is pleased with this new income
and has used the extra cash to open a shop that stocks
items for daily use. She earns on average CNY 200-300
per month from the shop and plans to expand the                were in primary school we found it hard to keep them
business. Her two sons go to school. Cui says: “This is        in school as there was no money to buy food. Now it is
like a dream come true. After finishing primary school,        different.” She laughs and adds, “Now there is no
my sons must go for secondary school”. The boys are            shortage of food and I can also say there is no shortage
now 15 and 12, and she would like them eventually to           of money. Today I have the same standard of living as
work in town. “We were very poor and when my sons              people who are better off in this area”. The neighbours
                                                               admire her and would like to follow her example. She
                                                               is in fact known as the star of the village.




“... there was no money to buy food. Now it is different.”



twenty FOUR
Jointly prepared by the Asia and the Pacific Division
and the External Affairs Department of IFAD.

For further information contact: e.martens@ifad.org;
f.haquerahman@ifad.org

Produced by the Publications and Desktop Publising Team
Design: Paul Hollingworth
Printed by: Artestampa, Rome, Italy • September 2002

Photography Credits
Cover (top to bottom, left to right): IFAD/L. Dematteis, IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman,
IFAD/M Zaugg, IFAD/M. Zaugg • p2 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman • p3 IFAD/L. Dematteis
p4 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman • p5 IFAD/L. Dematteis • p6 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman
p9 IFAD/L. Dematteis • p10 IFAD/L. Dematteis, IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman
p11 WFP China/L. Dageng • p12 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman • p13 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman
p14 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman • p16 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman • p17 WFP China/L. Dageng
p18 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman • p21 WFP China/L. Dageng • p22 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman
p24 IFAD/F. Haque-Rahman
Via del Serafico 107 • 00142 Rome • Italy • Tel: +39 06 54592318 / +39 06 54592485 • Fax +39 06 5043463 • E-mail: ifad@ifad.org • www.ifad.org

				
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