Seeding rural prosperity in China

In August 2021, Liu Kaifu knew his task was simple: to boost the village income.


Liu Kaifu, Party secretary of Mianhua village, trudges through the December snow in Mianhua village, Guizhou province. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

February 13, 2023

BEIJING – In August 2021, Liu Kaifu knew his task was simple: boost village income.

The Party secretary of Mianhua village in Kaili, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong autonomous prefecture, Guizhou province, had a plan to do just that with the help of the humble potato.

Liu introduced technology and generated funds, helping villagers to establish an agricultural cooperative and bring more agribusiness opportunities.

He surveyed the village land and realized that it was good to plant purple sweet potatoes. The villagers planted more than 73,000 square meters last year.

Liu (left) in warmer times prepares to feed grasshoppers. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

But there was also another source of income. Mianhua residents were encouraged to breed grasshoppers, a popular dish. The village now boasts three greenhouses to breed the insects.

“Grasshoppers are viewed more as snacks to accompany liquor,” Liu says, adding that they are mainly bought by the residents of surrounding villages and hotels in urban areas of Kaili for weddings and funerals.

The toil of the day. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

Like numerous villages reshaped by the country’s poverty reduction campaign, Mianhua village has been transformed. Its rundown homes and muddy roads have been renovated into a neighborhood of houses with tiled roofs and paved roads.

Supported by the cultivation of purple sweet potatoes and grasshoppers breeding, villagers’ incomes have increased and their lives have improved.

Liu checks on the grasshoppers. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

Liu examines purple sweet potatoes. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

Transplanting purple sweet potato seedlings. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

Liu (middle) helps villagers with their crops as he carries vegetables. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

Liu chats under a picturesque tree. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

Liu helps gather purple sweet potatoes. Yang Wenbin/Xinhua

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