POST TIME: 7 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Farmers remove rocks, build arable land
Yunnan Daily

Farmers remove rocks, build arable land

Located in southeast Yunnan’s Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Xichou County covers an area of 1,506 square kilometers. However, 75.4% of its land belongs to the exposed and semi-naked karst mountainous areas. This makes Xichou one of the areas facing the most severe rocky desertification in China. From this issue, we will see how Xichou changed dramatically the efforts of local people.

“It has lost the basic conditions for survival,” a foreign geological expert concluded after he did a field survey in the county. Stony desertification and poverty are like twin brothers, posing great challenges for local people. But things began to change in December 3, 1990 when grassroots CPC members like Wang Tingwei, Liu Dengrong in Muzhe Village of Xichou began to lead more than 300 villagers to bomb rocks and build arable lands.

“To build a mu (666.67 square meters) of land, at least 200 cubic meters of rocks should be removed, and 20 cubic meters of soil should be backfilled,” Liu Dengrong recalled. Sometimes, the villagers even faced a shortage of explosives. And they used the ancient method of pouring cold water on heated rocks to break them up. In 105 days, they removed hundreds of truckloads of rocks and built over 600 mu(0.4 square kilometers) of cultivated land. That year, the villagers planted hybrid maize and got a yield four times more than that of the previous year.

The success in Muzhe is just an epitome of Xichou County’s endeavor in tackling stone desertification and fighting poverty. According to statistics, more than 140 square kilometers of rocky desertification was treated in the county, and more than 100,000 mu(66.67 square kilometers ) of cultivated lands were built. The county’s land fertility index is now as high as 300 percent, and its forest coverage rate has increased to 53.3 percent.

In the last five years, the GDP of Xichou has grown by 12% annually and the rural per capita disposable income by 15%.