China’s Tibet helps farmers, herdsmen find jobs

Phusang works in a modern agriculture and husbandry demonstration park in Lhundrup county, Lhasa, capital of Tibet autonomous region. Photo by Xu Yuyao/People's Daily

Over 604,000 farmers and herdsmen in southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region had secured jobs with the assistance of the government as the end of October this year. These jobs generated an income of 4.54 billion yuan (about $688 million).

A total of 77,289 of them found jobs in other cities and prefectures within the autonomous region, while 5,546 worked outside of it.

Phusang, 52, is one of the many that have found a job with the government’s assistance. He now works at a cattle breeding workshop in a modern agriculture and husbandry demonstration park in Lhundrup county, Lhasa, capital of Tibet autonomous region.

“It was beyond my imagination that cows can be raised this way,” he told the People’s Daily, pointing to the modern workshop where a huge digital screen was demonstrating real-time production.

The demonstration park is an important livelihood project built in 2018, as well as a pair assistance program of east China’s Jiangsu province. It aims to turn around the low production efficiency in the past when it always took five or six years before cattle were slaughtered and when the mortality was high.

The project, with an investment of 150 million yuan, is mainly used to breed yaks and process forage grass for the animal. It offers jobs for surrounding farmers and herdsmen, who are able to earn over 3,500 yuan each month.

Phusang said he was totally unprepared when arriving at the demonstration park for the first time. The cowsheds were equipped with modern facilities, and cameras were installed over every cattle. Traditional coarse fodders were replaced by scientifically designed ones, and there were employees giving injection to, taking temperature for and cleaning the cattle.

“The herdsmen were used to extensive ways of cattle breeding. In order to help them adapt to modern husbandry as soon as possible, we held a series of training courses,” said Li Fashu, head of the demonstration park.

Now, Phusang has been promoted to a group leader of cattle breeding, and acquired abundant skills after receiving training. Sometimes he even teaches his colleagues how to be more efficient in breeding the cattle.

Both he and his son work in the demonstration park. “We turned from farmers into workers. Though the cattle don’t belong to us, our days are better,” he said.

Many regions in Tibet suffer from underdeveloped industries due to remoteness and poor transportation. Apart from offering training sessions, local government also helped establish cooperatives. These cooperatives carried out training sessions in weaving, sewing and driving, as well as automobile, motorcycle and agricultural machine repairing and maintenance, so as to comprehensively improve farmers’ and herdsmen’s professional skills.

Many farmers and herdsmen have moved from rural areas to the cities, where they are embracing better employment opportunities. In a relocation site in Lhasa’s Newu new area, a 34-year-old woman surnamed Changdren runs a teahouse. Three years ago, she was still a farmer in Dagar village, Dagar township of Chushur county, where her family of three lived on only 0.27 hectares of farmland.

Receiving training sessions, Changdren’s cooking skills were largely improved, and the training also broadened her horizon. “I have so many job opportunities living in the city,” she said. Under the support of local officials, Changdren started her own teahouse. Her tea-making skills made the teahouse very popular among local residents, and her turnover has hit 1,000 yuan per day.

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