Tibetan township gets rid of poverty, embraces prosperity

A woman milks a yak. (Photo by Li Changyu/People’s Daily)

August is cold in Mcdika, a township in Jiali county, Nagqu of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. The average altitude of the township stands at over 5,100 meters, and the highest pasture of the alpine township, located in Kaire village, is 5,280 meters above the sea level.

Wearing a crimson Tibetan robe and a felt hat, Tsangpa from Kaire village looks vibrant. Last year, the man’s family earned nearly 100,000 yuan ($14,455), from small business, the bonus of the village’s cooperative, part-time jobs and the government’s grassland eco-compensation.

However, Tsangpa family was still a registered impoverished household before 2015, with an annual per capita income of only 2,000 yuan.

The change came from the poverty alleviation policies launched by Mcdika township. In 2015, Pasang Tsering was appointed the Party chief of the township, and at that time, the township was home to 380 impoverished households that totaled 1,900 people and accounted for 37 percent of the township’s population. Local herdsmen grazed their livestock separately, and their income was low.

To make the grazing more intensive and into an industry, Pasang Tsering encouraged villages in the township to establish cooperatives, and held training sessions to teach vocational skills to the herdsmen.

After years of efforts, every village in the township has established a pasture cooperative, and 20 economic cooperation organizations have been built, including cow dung processing plant, housekeeping service center, and gas and petrol station.

When Kaire’s pasture cooperative was founded in 2017, Tsangpa invested all his 18 yaks in it, and his wife also started working for it. After two years, Tsangpa’s family received not only 12,800 yuan of bonus, but also a heifer. Besides, the cooperative also freed Tsangpa from grazing the livestock, so he worked out of town for extra income, which multiplied the man’s earning in recent years. So far, all impoverished people in Mcdika have shaken off poverty just like Tsangpa has.

To address the high altitude, harsh natural conditions, weak economic foundation and simple industrial structure, Nagqu has exploited its advantages in the grazing industry, establishing grazing companies and an interests-sharing mechanism that combines leading enterprises, county-level grazing companies, cooperatives and impoverished households. The mechanism links all sections on the household-, village-, township-, county- and municipal-levels, and improves the efficiency of poverty alleviation.

Garde is a leading graziery company in Seni district of Naqu. It has an organic graziery demonstration base located 4,500 meters above the sea level on the Garde Plateau.

“The pastures were scattered before, so both the storage and sales of the fresh milk were difficult,” said Garda, head of a cooperative from Dhasa township. He introduced that the base has distributed thermal-insulation steel buckets to the herdsmen, which largely spurred their enthusiasm for production.

According to Mingata, an executive of the demonstration base, since the base started operation on January 2018, it has created total income of over 7.5 million yuan for 812 impoverished households from 76 poverty-stricken villages who supplied milk, fertilizers and meadows and worked for the base.

“After years of efforts, Nagqu now has 1,540 cooperatives of agriculture and graziery, radiating 322,900 people from 73,500 households,” said Ao Liuquan, Party chief of Nagqu. These cooperatives generated total revenue of 366 million yuan last year, distributing a bonus of 199 million yuan to the people. Besides, they also created 19,100 local jobs, and increased income of 121 million yuan for 82,700 people.

“To work hard independently, and to overcome hardships rather than enduring them.” That’s the slogan of local poverty alleviation cadres, as well as the only way to get rid of poverty.

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