Lai Yumei [gxnews.com.cn]
An innovative Party official from Yangshuo County near Guilin, a major tourist city in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has committed herself to helping farmers eradicate poverty by developing organic farming over the past decade.
Lai Yumei is an entrepreneur and secretary of the Party branch in the county's Jiaobalin Village. Earlier this year, she was elected as a delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
A 'Bellwether' of Local Kumquat Industry
Farmers in Yangshuo County have long followed the tradition of growing kumquats. However, due to poor transport links and inadequate sales channels, the fruit's price was extremely low in the past.
In 2002, Lai and her husband invested over 100,000 yuan (U.S.$ 15,079) building a kumquat orchard on 200 mu (13 hectares) of barren hillside fields.
Lai firmly upheld the strategy of "promoting agriculture through science and technology."
The techniques which Lai vigorously promoted, such as to shelter kumquat trees from the rain, and protect them from low temperature and exposure to the sun, greatly improved the quality of her products.
Now her orchard yields over 200,000 kilograms of kumquats every year with an annual revenue surpassing 860,000 yuan (U.S.$ 129,594).
However, Lai was not content with individual development and always kept in mind her dream of leading kumquat farmers across her county into a better life by developing standardized and modern agriculture.
In 2008, Lai organized other fruit farmers to found Guizhu Kumquat Professional Cooperative. That year, members of the cooperative began to manage their orchards as per related fruit export standards.
Thanks to their hard work, Lai gained an export certificate, enabling them to sell their kumquats abroad.
Lai also provided villagers with financial, technical and entrepreneurial support, helping over 60 needy households get out their disadvantaged situation in recent years.
In August 2013, to further enhance the industry, authorities in the county set up a kumquat association and appointed Lai as its director.
A Qualified Party Chief
Lai joined the CPC in 2004 and was elected as a Party secretary in 2014.
"During my tenure, I will lead Party members to actively contribute ideas and methods for developing our village in a better way!" said Lai in a speech shortly after taking up the post.
Her first decision was to enrich residents' cultural life by building a square dance team.
In addition to purchasing computers with her own money, she also persuaded others to raise money to buy speakers and other equipment.
Now, the beautiful dances performed by local women have become a scene at the village's cultural square.
Lai also organized female villagers to carry out a weekly clean-up operation, keeping the village tidy.
Moreover, she persuaded kumquat planters in the village to donate towards a road resurfacing project which connected all the orchards to the main thoroughfare.
Under Lai's leadership, the annual net income per capita in Bajiaolin, which is home to some 2,200 people from 479 families, now exceeds 18,000 yuan (U.S.$ 2,711).
(Source: Guilin Daily/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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