A woman picking edible roses in Qiubei County, Yunan Province Photo: YANG ZONGYOU/XINHUA
At an online seminar held by the Rural Revitalization Research Institute of China Agricultural University (CAU) on May 15, scholars shared their views on how best to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 and clinch a complete victory in the fight against poverty.
“Poverty elimination is our long-term goal,” said Zhang Hongyu, deputy dean of the China Institute for Rural Studies at Tsinghua University. Zhang believed that China has achieved decisive progress in overcoming poverty. Going forward, we must stick to five key measures to lift people out of poverty: advancing relocation, strengthening education, carrying out ecological restoration, fostering distinctive industries, and providing allowances to assist them in meeting their basic needs. Zhang highlighted the last two methods as the crucial long-term goals.
Apart from employment transfer, we must also promote entrepreneurship in rural areas to increase rural residents’ income. We should innovate with new business forms, increase job opportunities, create more jobs and increase the income of rural households in the agricultural industry.
Industrial development plays a key role in poverty relief. Zuo Ting, deputy dean of the Rural Revitalizing Research Institute of CAU, said that the industrial value chain of rural poverty alleviation requires upgrading. In particular, employment lies at the center of ensuring rural residents’ livelihood, thus it should become the major indicator of rural industrial development. Meanwhile, development-oriented poverty reduction should shift from resource development to human capital development.
Cheng Guoqiang, a distinguished professor at Tongji University in Shanghai, observed that the pandemic had brought rural industrial development to a standstill and hurt rural farmers’ income. To keep their income growing steadily, we need to target the key problem. Meanwhile, we must adjust measures according to local conditions when overcoming difficulties with a systematic approach. For instance, we can take measures to propel work resumption and expand employment, provide training services, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.