Located in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Hunan Province, Changputang was a typical dry rural settlement in the 1980s and 1990s. It had limited land and water resources due to the mountainous terrain and poor road conditions, and residents mainly relied on traditional crops such as rice, corn and sweet potatoes to make a living, with a per capita annual net income of less than 600 yuan ($82).
But since the government started targeted poverty alleviation in 2013, the village has witnessed a profound turnaround.
“Today, every household in Changputang has an orchard or a nursery garden, and everyone has knowledge and skills in planting. They have formed an industrial characteristic of selling fruits, seedlings and technology,” said Tang Jinsheng, head of the resident work team in Changputang.
The village has also promoted the improvement and efficiency of fruit quality, the development of smart agriculture and deep processing of fruits, Tang said. The village has built a smart agriculture base, introduced rain shelter greenhouse cultivation technology and installed cameras and sensors to monitor orchard climate, water content and trace elements as part of efforts to develop the industry toward green, ecological and modern development.
To strengthen its support for scientific and technological talents, the village has also entered into a collaboration with Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Hunan Agricultural University to build a work station for experts, and founded the first national kiwi technology institute, focusing on tackling key planting technologies and industry-university-research cooperation.
In addition, the local authorities have invested more than 3 million yuan in poverty-relief funds for science and technology, cultivating a group of local experts such as technology demonstration households, large-scale planters and marketing experts.
At present, Changputang has two provincial-level science and technology demonstration households and 268 at the prefecture and county levels. There are 48 junior agricultural technicians and 21 intermediate agricultural technicians who provide guidance to local growers and intellectual services for fruit industry development in surrounding villages and towns. The village has also engaged Hunan-based agricultural industry giant Zhoushengtang to ensure the purchase and processing of grapefruit and kiwi fruit.
“From a patch of lotus-filled ponds to orchards covering the hills, from planting sweet potatoes and corn to selling fruit seedlings and providing technology, Changputang has embarked on a development path of science and technology that promotes agriculture and industry which has vitalized the village,” said Zhou Zuhui, Party secretary of Changputang Village.
Transport and infrastructure have also been improved. The village has achieved 100 percent coverage of tap water, 4G networks and street lighting. In the orchards, villagers shuttle back and forth on tricycles. More than 90 percent of households have moved into two-story buildings.
“With new houses to live in and new roads to travel on, life in Changputang is becoming more and more beautiful and our lives are becoming sweeter,” said Tian Maoyan, a local villager.
In 2022, the per capita disposable income of the village surpassed 30,392 yuan, while its collective economy reached 2.09 million yuan, according to local officials.