Farmers enjoy greener growth in Zunyi

Updated: 2013-05-28 08:14

By Yan Qin (China Daily)

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Bird songs woke me up at around six in the morning, reminding me of a talk about birds on our way to the picturesque county of Meitan in Zunyi, northern Guizhou province.

A local friend of mine shared his observations about a thriving family of turtledoves and the ever-expanding flock of migrant birds that visit their neighborhood each year. He was adding new evidence, besides the sweet air I had been greedily breathing in, of Guizhou's fine environmental superiority before a humble Beijinger.

From provincial capital Guiyang on, as we reached deeper northward into the territory of Zunyi, my colleagues and I found ourselves constantly in awe it was such a luxury to travel in the embrace of the boundless green of the misty rolling hills, though our schedule had no room for sightseeing.

It almost goes without saying that in today's China places with pristine nature reside in out-of-the-way locations untouched by the development craze.

Guizhou is very much "underdeveloped" in GDP terms, ranking the 26th nationwide last year. But like other regions struggling on the bottom rungs, officials there are eager to catch up.

The good news is that none of the local administrators we came across appeared to be the single-minded GDP chasers we have been accustomed to. With admirable awareness of ecological well-being, they are displaying respectable poise before the temptation of immediate GDP boosters and revenue generators.

Zunyi, famous as the location of a historic Red Army meeting that put Mao Zedong at the head of the Communist Party in mid 1935, now prides itself on enriching the local farming community without ruining its enviable environmental purity. It is being touted as proof that traditional planting can still be prosperous today.

While fuming factory chimneys are rare here, clusters of sloping-roofed rural residential buildings with peculiar northern-Guizhou features dot the well-preserved landscape.

In Xiazi township, which boasts the largest chili pepper transaction center in the southwest, the red hot traditional produce is turning a host of pepper farmers into millionaires. Proud locals shared with us the secret that two of the country's largest pepper-consuming areas, neighboring Chongqing and Sichuan, depend on their supplies. Fine quality has not only won Xiazi contracts with such popular brands as Haidilao restaurants and Wujiang pickles. The profit chain has extended locally to include storage, processing and transport.

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