Karst Poverty and International Cooperation in Poverty Reduction - Implications of the Sino-Australian Cooperation Project in Yincheng, Guangxi
- poverty reduction approaches
- endogenous poverty alleviation
- vulnerable groups
- targeted poverty alleviation components
- supporting policies
Karst Poverty and International Cooperation in Poverty Reduction - Implications of the Sino-Australian Cooperation Project in Yincheng, Guangxi
Title : Karst Poverty and International Cooperation in Poverty Reduction - Implications of the Sino-Australian Cooperation Project in Yincheng, Guangxi
Commencement Date : Tue Jan 16 2001--Tue Dec 20 2005
Implementing Agencies : Xincheng County, Guangxi
Support Organizations : URS Sustainable Development Company
Actuator : Xincheng County, Guangxi
Members of The : nine poor towns
Contact : Xincheng County, Guangxi
CASE PROVIDER :
Sources of Funds :
Catalogue and Index :
Abstract Summary :
1.1 Basic information of Xincheng County
Xincheng County belonged to Liuzhou Prefecture in the past and is now a county of Laibin City in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. At the lower reaches of Hongshui River in the central area of Guangxi, at east longitude of 108°24′ -109°06′ and northern latitude of 23°40′－24°23′, Xincheng is adjacent to Heshan City and Xingbin District of Laibin City in the southeast, close to Du’an County of Yihechi City in the west and Shanglin County of Nanning City in the south, connects Yizhou City in the north and Liujiang County of Liuzhou City in the northeast, and neighbors Mashan County of Nanning City in the southwest. In the developed area of karst topography, Xincheng County has many mountains and forests and is full of underground rivers and karst caves. It is high in the southeast and low in the west, and has many hills in the central area and manly plains and mountains as well. Meanwhile, Xincheng County has an arable land area of 29200 hectares, an effective irrigation area of 12,500 hectares, a cash crop area of 12,500 hectares, a forest area of 78,700 hectares, and a forest coverage rate of 30.7%. Covering a total land area of 2541 square kilometers, the county has five townships, eight towns and 130 village committees (neighborhoods). As of the end of 2010, the county had a total of 130969 households and 416611 people, of which 380095 were rural residents, and 380,000 were minority people including Zhuang, Yao, Mulao and Miao people. It had 15 ethnic groups including Zhuang, Han, Yao, Mulao, Miao, Hui, Man, etc., and Zhuang people accounted for 89.98%. Xincheng is a national key county for poverty alleviation and development in the new era.
1.1.1 Economic and social development situation of Xincheng County
Since 2003, the county’s GDP has increased significantly, soaring from 1.454 billion yuan to 3.157 billion yuan in 2008, with an annual growth of 17.6%; and its fiscal revenue has witnessed stable growth, increasing from 82.58 million yuan from 2003 to 234 million yuan in 2008, with an average annual growth of 22.5%.
1.1.Rural per capita net income of Xincheng County
Since 2005, the rural per capita net income of Xincheng County has been increasing year by year. In 2008, the county’s urban per capita disposable income was 13400 yuan, up 19.8%, exceeding 10,000 yuan for the first time; rural per capita net income was 3378 yuan, up 17.6%, exceeding 3000 yuan for the first time, and 2008 became the year that witnessed the most rapid development, the best quality and the greatest change in the history of Xincheng County.
Located in the rocky mountain area of Central Guangxi, Xincheng is now a national key county for poverty alleviation and development. After the poverty reduction activities of the party committees and governments at all levels, the county’s poverty-stricken people have been reduced year by year. According to the deployment of Guangxi government, the county focused on relocation in the poverty alleviation. Since 1994, it has relocated a total of 348 households and 1748 people to resettlement points of nine villages in Silian Town, Chengguan Town and Datang Town with good conditions, successfully completing the relocation task assigned by Guangxi government and passing the examination of the Inspection Team of Guangxi Autonomous Region Leading Group for Poverty Alleviation and Development.
To make the immigrants live and work in peace and contentment and shake off poverty as soon as possible, Guangxi Autonomous Region Leading Group for Poverty Alleviation and Development issued 1.025 million yuan to consolidate the relocation projects’ results and put in 306700 yuan of project funds in 2002 and 2003, built 200 biogas digesters for the resettlement villages, repaired irrigation canals of 4865 meters and set up one water lifting project to benefit 3417 households. In addition, the county raised funds of 921,000 yuan to support the planting of improved mulberry sapling of 16.5 ha, high-quality fruits of 20.6 ha, honeysuckle of 100 ha and high-quality corn of 32.5 ha, and purchased 248 bacon hogs for the rural households.
In 2004, the county invested 640,000 yuan in the construction of village roads, drinking water projects and stagnant water drainage projects in five resettlement points, further improved the infrastructure of the resettlement points and promoted the good-neighborly relations between the masses of the resettlement points and the surrounding villages. Through the relocation, it improved the immigrants’ production and living conditions significantly and basically addressed their food and clothing problems.
2.2.1 Main practices of KERP Project Office
188.8.131.52 Improving the policy rules and regulations to strengthen the management of land use
To ensure the effective implementation of the KERP project, the KERP Project Office improved the policy rules and regulations to strengthen land use management. Meanwhile, it strengthened vegetation management, organized rational development and utilization of mountains to prevent further damage to the environment and achieve coordinated economic and environmental development; adopted special measures for some special regions, such as prohibiting grazing, wasteland reclamation and firewood felling; strengthened the management of barren mountains, made clear the use management right of the existing mountains and organized large-area afforestation; implemented returning farmland to forest in the areas not suitable for grain production to avoid solid erosion; and organized transformation of terraced fields and slopes for soil and water conservation.
184.108.40.206 Strengthening environmental protection policy advocacy to enhance farmers' awareness of environmental protection
It strived to raise community awareness of environmental protection and carried out artificial afforestation activities to accelerate the vegetation restoration and environmental governance in rocky mountain areas; strengthened public administration on daily environmental and village affairs and developed the village regulations for the public; and strengthened publicity on environmental protection to change the modes and behaviors of irrational use of natural resources.
220.127.116.11 Broadening the sources of income of farmers to promote the production and income growth of farmers
Through the introduction of improved varieties and the promotion of new technologies, it broadened the business scope of agriculture, explored new industrial structure for diversified production and management, assisted the implementation of some activities to increase the income of rural areas and farmers and reduce the impact of farmers’ production activities on environment. It organized technical trainings and capacity building activities, strengthened the management of livestock, and reared livestock in pens to reduce damage to the vegetations in mountain areas; organized forage grass growing to promote the development of aquaculture; encouraged planting with green manure and straw use for farmland to improve the land fertility; promoted improved varieties to improve land yields, and developed appropriate family-run income-generating small businesses to increase revenues and alleviate poverty.
18.104.22.168 Strengthening rural communities' infrastructure construction to improve the living environment of villagers
The Project Office vigorously strengthened road building and water supply project construction to improve the production and living conditions of rural communities, and constructed irrigation facilities to improve infrastructure conditions. For the farmers of the project area, the weak infrastructure and poor living conditions hindered their development. Infrastructure improvement will help expand the channels for farmers to communicate and contact with the outside work and provide a hardware basis for the villagers to increase production and get rich.
22.214.171.124 Strengthening demonstration and guidance and building model villages of communities
It strengthened demonstration work to guide the construction of model villages of communities. The activity contents of the comprehensive community development planning of the model villages include: the formulation of village-level participatory planning; land use and soil conservation; vegetation restoration and mountain management; forage planting and breeding management; small businesses; sustainable energy development; infrastructure construction, etc. Each project selected three natural villages as the model villages, for each of which about 130,000 yuan was invested, and no more than 400,000 yuan was invested in total for the administrative village. Investment in the sub-projects: 6% for the formulation of village-level participatory planning; 16% for land use and soil conservation; 17% for vegetation restoration and mountain management; 14% for forage planting and breeding management; 23% for small businesses; 14% for sustainable energy development, and 7% for infrastructure construction. Trainings accounted for about 25% of the demonstration activity. In the implementation of each project, it attached importance to the coordination of ecological benefits, social benefits and economic benefits. In short, each project implementation scheme attached importance to the scientific demonstration of the project feasibility and funds, striving to make every project a success, seeking for not only economic benefits but also social benefits, aiming at ensuring that the selected projects really have good economic benefits and promote the economic development of impoverished regions.
2.2.2 Main practices of URS Corporation
126.96.36.199 Based on the actual needs assessment
URS Corporation carried out scientific and targeted analysis of the actual needs of the project, and prepared four assessment reports respectively on social economy, natural resources, energy and land use as well as agricultural industry. In the demonstration of village development planning and design, starting from the assessment of natural resources and community development, the project prioritized the actual needs for community development, environmental rehabilitation and income generation and, on this basis, developed the targeted planning for the comprehensive development of natural villages.
188.8.131.52 Paying attention to scale and balance of the project layout
In the project implementation process, URS Corporation attached great importance to the layout scale and balance. It first stressed the scale effect: The township project area covered nine national poor towns in the karst mountain areas of Xincheng County and the model villages’ beneficiaries covered all the households of the villages. The project also paid attention to the layout balance: To make the villages and people equally benefit from the project, the project selected the same number of model villages from the tower and peak karst mountain areas of the project towns, implemented the same aid standard for each model village; and provided the same amount of aid funds for the rural households of each model village except paying special attention to the extremely poor.
184.108.40.206 Holding capacity-building training courses in line with the needs of the villagers to enhance professional skills of farmers
In the implementation process of the KERP project, URS Corporation held a total of 1232 capacity building trainings for more than 60,000 person-times, including 20 trainings for counties, 19 for towns, 12 for administrative villages, 16 for model villages and 1188 for villagers; issued 80,000 copies of technical data and project brochures, which played an important role in improving the cultural quality and professional skills of farmers.
220.127.116.11 Guiding villagers' full participation and paying equal attention to innovation and application
In the implementation process of the KERP project, URS Corporation used the participatory approach to guide villagers to fully participate. The basic goal of the participatory approach is to make all the villagers participate in the demonstration activity so that the KERP Project will achieve the following objectives: To enable the villagers understand the causes of their poverty; to provide information to change farming practices and increase the income of villagers and reduce environmental degradation; and to help the villagers improve their skills and enhance their confidence in the face of change.
The project design emphasizes "people-oriented development" and makes the strengthening of capacity building as its basic strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the project. The project design proposed to increase the skills of agricultural service organizations, promote new varieties and new technologies, and help model village and households implement effective land use planning and income-generating schemes. The development planning of model villages designed small business projects and encouraged farmers to select and develop resources-based, market-oriented planting or processing projects to increase profit and increase income of poor households. The project not only takes the full participation of farmers as the premise for project construction, and stresses the involvement of all stakeholders. Meanwhile, the project design also paid attention to practicality and gave full consideration to the low cultural quality and skills of the farmers in poor mountain areas.
18.104.22.168 Promoting alternative energy technologies to improve farmers' living standards
URS Corporation actively encouraged and promoted the use of alternative energy technologies to gradually improve the living standards of farmers; developed sustainable energy to reduce pressure on environment caused by the energy needs of rural living; constructed biogas digesters and fuel-saving stoves, encouraged rural households with certain conditions to install solar power facilities, encouraged pig breeding, reduced the use of firewood and turf, saved time for income-generating activities, and improved farmers’ production skills and ability to get rich.
22.214.171.124 Community-oriented, aiming to improve farmers' ability
URS Corporation attached importance to community-oriented capacity building. KERP Project is a community-driven development project. Through project implementation, the community can not only stimulate the internal impetus for community development, but enhance farmers’ self-development awareness and ability and empower the farmers. As the appropriate approach and intervention measures are in line with the community’s current development situation and needs, a large number of villagers took part in the community-based project activities with a high sense of master, leading to a high success rate of the project. Environmental improvement was achieved through capacity building. KERP project developed and implemented a series of capacity building strategies to constantly improve the agency setting and capacity within the range of services and targets of the project. In such a way, the county departments and staff had the ability to develop long-term comprehensive rural development planning focusing on poverty reduction jointly with the villagers. At the same time, it aims to continuously improve the self-development capabilities of the target communities and groups in the implementation process of this project.
Through the management of mountains, the improvement of new varieties and the operation of small businesses (including planting, farming and small-scale processing enterprises, etc.), the project improved agricultural production, changed the planting and breeding structure and income source structure of the poor in the project area, and thus played an important role in increasing farmers’ income and reducing poverty. According to the field survey on 31 project villages involved in the project implementation in 2002 and 2003, before the project implementation, the rural per capita net income was only 649 yuan. In 2004, this figure soared to 856 yuan, with an increase of more than 200 yuan.
With the implementation of the project, the environmental awareness has been advocated and raised and farmers began to recognize the relationship between environment and poverty and protect the environment consciously, and developed and obeyed the regulations on environmental protection, restricting environmental destruction to some extent. Along with the large-scale afforestation, the community’s ecological environment has been restored to some extent; the development and use of alternative sustainable energy reduced the pressure on ecological environment; the improvement of the planting and breeding structure and methods made the resource utilization more reasonable and reduced damage to the environment.
The community-led development measures changed the role and behavior of the project area in the development, enhanced farmers’ confidence in self-development in the process of local knowledge training and innovation, enhanced farmers’ self-development ability and organization ability and improved the infrastructure of the community as well.
3.4 Significantly enhanced the project implementation capacity and the target groups’ self-development ability
Taking capacity building as a breakthrough, through multi-level consciousness, management and technical trainings on many aspects, the KERP Project enhanced the capabilities of the project organizers and executors and the villagers of the project area, such as the project construction and management ability of the project implementation unit, the technical levels and service capacity of relevant technical departments, the comprehensive quality and ability of the township government, the self-development ability of the project villages and the farmers in the villagers, and the government’s ability for sustainable use of resources and environment management, ensuring the successful implementation of the project, the realization of the project objectives and the sustainable development of the project results.
3.5 Promoted gender development
As the rural labors were mainly women in the project area, KERP Project mainly formulated the gender development strategy. First, it stressed that the project regulatory agencies must have some female workers and hold gender consciousness training and gender analysis training to improve the gender sensitivity of the project executors and technical promotion personnel; secondly, it emphasized that we must pay attention to gender development in different stages and links of the project period and establish appropriate mechanisms to make women’s opinions affect decision making; thirdly, the project paid attention to women’s special needs and was conducive to the development of women. The implementation of these gender development strategies improved the gender sensitivity of the relevant groups and especially the beneficiaries of the project, promoted the development of women in many aspects and enhanced the status of women.
Currently, community-based organizations have a weak capacity and the vast majority of rural communities do not have any organizations. The villagers have their village heads or villager team heads, but the heads mainly assist the village committees in the implementation of the family planning and the distribution of relief materials and few of them really play a role in lifting the masses out of poverty. Without strong leadership, plus the poverty situation of the masses, the community has a rather weak economic foundation, relies heavily on the local government on public affairs and public facility construction and is facing many difficulties in achieving sustainable development through self-organization and self-development, requiring strengthening the construction of and guidance for community organizations.
The outflow of a large number of rural young and middle-aged labors to the city has a lot of negative impact on the community development. By the end of 2006, 130 million rural labors served as migrant workers in other towns, accounting for 80.8% of the total. Some members of model villages’ implementation teams work in non-local area all year round, and the community activity system that was newly established has been gradually abandoned, affecting the sustainable community development.
Farmers’ association can also promote the sustainable development of agriculture. Farmers’ technology association was established as required by the farmers, but it mainly relies on external (project or government) funding and support and does not have a high-quality head. The association’s president can hardly guide the healthy development of the association due to his low quality, so the association can hardly survive, and we do not suggest investing more funds or equipment to the association. From the perspective of development, however, farmers’ technology association makes the rural households involved in the same production activities help each other in the production and sales to jointly face the market risk, which is the only way to achieve agricultural modernization. Therefore, the current association is very important and should be supported.