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Young Chinese a new force in rural revitalization

Xinhua, June 14, 2022 Adjust font size:

Photo taken on April 22, 2019 shows Ma Yuanjie working in a seedling base in Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province. (Xinhua/Yang Chenguang)

White blueberry flowers have brought a different look to the Loess Plateau in northern China, thanks to 26-year-old Li Pengfei, who returned to his hometown five years ago to pursue a career in agriculture.

"Blueberries are growing well this year because of the good weather," said Li, who owns a blueberry garden of 100 mu (about 6.67 hectares) in Henglingguan Village, Yuncheng City of Shanxi Province.

"The yield is expected to reach more than 250 kg per mu," he said.

Li worked in the service industry and later in media for a while after he graduated. But eventually, he chose to start a career in the rural area where he was born and raised.

No one had been growing blueberries in the area, and Li thought it presented an opportunity.

After investigation, he found the sharp temperature difference between day and night, and the high soil selenium content lends a crisp and sweet taste and higher nutritional value to the blueberries growing there.

Every harvest season, merchants as well as tourists from across China flock to the garden, bringing handsome incomes to local villagers.

Li also planted 400 mu of astragalus, a traditional Chinese medicinal herb, and employed as many as some 50 helpers from the village.

As China's rural revitalization efforts strengthen, more and more young people, armed with new ideas and technology, are playing a leading role in stimulating vitality in rural areas.

In Shanxi's Jinzhong City, there is a youth farmers' association with over 100 members with their own "unique skills."

Zhou Lei and his wife majored in chemistry at university, and with their expertise in sewage treatment technology, they have developed a "fish-vegetable symbiosis" circular agriculture project, which saves water for fish raising and fertilizer for vegetable planting.

Ma Yuanjie used to be an English teacher, and has trained tens of thousands of farmers over the past five years, helping them grow high-quality fruits and vegetables. Not long ago, he was honored by the local agricultural department as a "self-taught expert."

Talent has always occupied a prominent position in the country's rural revitalization drive. The central government has introduced various guidelines and laws to encourage local governments to cultivate and attract talent to boost rural revitalization.

Zhu Qizhen, a professor at China Agricultural University, said the creativity and efficiency that have emerged from rural revitalization has proved that agriculture is still a promising career choice for young people.

Photo taken on Jan. 17, 2021 shows Yao Yanmei peddling agricultural products during a livestreaming session. (Xinhua)

Yao Yanmei, in her 30s, said she has found her dream career in her hometown of Shanxi's Jingle County. Inspired by the local intangible cultural heritage of paper cutting, she has developed a form of "creative paddy field agriculture" to attract a following online, while selling agricultural products.

"Rural development needs the efforts of the young generation. Devoting oneself to rural undertakings is by no means a temporary passion, but a long-term exploration and commitment," Yao said. 

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