CPPCC member nurtures apple business in SW China, leads local farmers out of poverty

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By Ye Xiaonan, People’s Daily Overseas Edition

HuoXuexi, member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, recently received a great message: all the apples produced in Yuexi County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, were sold out.

“That’s awesome! That just guarantees the income of the fruit farmers,” said Huo, who is also the vice chairman of the Shaanxi provincial committee of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, and a professor with the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University.

The man and his team have spent numerous energy on apple production in YuexiCounty, from planting to sales.

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When Huo stepped onto the land of Yuexi for the first time in 2015, he immediately discovered the county’s huge natural advantages – high altitude, huge temperature difference, great soil and sufficient sunlight.

“However, the apples grown there were all of old species, with low yield and average quality. Besides, they fruited late,” Huo noted. Still, he believes that apple business was pointing a way out for local residents haunted by poverty.

The apple business calls for systematic development, and is always constrained by techniques and human resource. Therefore, Huo later became a frequent visitor to Yuexi County, and specifically tailored an cultivation mode for the county together with local institutions of agricultural science and agricultural machinery departments.

By optimizing apple varieties, transforming orchards, and training major growers and grass-roots technical personnel, they gradually scaled up Yuexi’s apple cultivation. At present, the county is home to a number of competent apple growers.

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Yuexicounty is only an epitome. As a member of the CPPPCC National Committee and chief scientist of China’s national apple industrial system, Huo has always been working on the front line in rural areas.

Apart from assisting the cultivation of apples, Huo also visited a batch of apple production areas in Gansu Province, Tibet Autonomous Region, Guizhou Province, and Yunnan Province with his team over the past year, formulating a series of reports on apple production and sales, the impacts from COVID-19 on apple exports, and bottleneck technologies that constrained the industry.

With his focus always being on issues related to apples, the man has submitted multiple proposals to the CPPCC about the development of the apple industry.

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Now, the scientist is casting his eyes on the sales of apples. “Apart from planting skills, we must ensure great sales to help residents increase their income. Last year, we cooperated with e-commerce platforms and held a large promotional activity for Yuexi. The sales volume was huge,” he said.

Recently, a new proposal has been listed on Huo’s agenda, which is to study how e-commerce platforms can expand sales channel of agricultural products and thus bring stable income growth to farmers.

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