A Microscopic Look At China's Agricultural Industries

A Microscopic Look At China's Agricultural Industries
By analyzing China's agro-based industry at a micro-level, we can observe the extraordinary economic revolution that has transpired within the country in the short span of four decades. This revolution has not only challenged the dominance of established superpowers, but has also been accompanied by programs like the Belt and Road Initiative, which holds the potential to bring economic prosperity to the region.

As Pakistan yet again yearns to embark on a journey to bring about an economic revolution, particularly in the agricultural sector, it is crucial for us to adopt a model that is comparable to our goals. Pakistan holds immense potential to accelerate industrialization by focusing on the development of agro-based industries. The establishment of agro-based industries will bring about transformative changes in both the agricultural and industrial sectors.

Studying and comprehending China's economic development by examining the local-level development model implemented in Fenghuang County offers a glimpse into how replication of our ally’s unprecedented success would look like. Through the implementation of effective economic models, China has achieved peace and prosperity within its borders, transforming into a resilient nation.Top of Form

From an anthropological and historical standpoint, this feature portrays my personal experiences, observations, interviews with relevant individuals such as experts and officials, as well as my encounters with agro-based industrial zones in Phoenix County.

During my recent visit to China, I was fortunate to have Mr. Tian, the Director of the industrial units in Fenghuang County, and his official team accompany me during my visit. To facilitate communication, three female students of Professor Tan served as interpreters, skillfully overcoming any potential language barriers that might arise. Bottom of Form

I had the opportunity to explore various industrial units in Fenghuang County. Some of the notable places I visited include: Tang Village, specifically Zhou Zu Hui, the Xiangxi Wax World Batik Garment factory, the Phoenix Snow Tea Factory, Zhou Sheng Tang Bio-Technology Co., Zhou Shengtang Company and Calamus Pond village.

Zhou Sheng Tang Bio-Technology Company

First and foremost, let's delve into the accomplishments of Zhou Sheng Tang Bio-Technology Company. This company provides an extensive array of products, encompassing honey pomelo paste, dried fruit, and various other offerings. Their business operations encompass research and development in the field of biological product technology, as well as food processing and sales.

Zhou Shengtang company and Calamus Pond village have established a mutually beneficial linkage mechanism. Under this arrangement, the villagers are ensured a guaranteed purchase for their honey pomelo, kiwi, and other fruits. In 2022, the company acquired over 8.5 million kilograms of fruit from local fruit farmers, benefiting 75 villages across 12 townships in the vicinity. This initiative successfully resolved the sales predicament faced by thousands of farmers. When I asked about the methods employed to establish a sizable facility and efficiently produce various food items in a limited period, Boss Zhou Zu Hui, an exceptionally accomplished researcher holding a PhD degree, credited the accomplishment to a collaborative effort involving the government, local authorities, skilled engineers, and the productive capabilities of the land. The significance of this undertaking can be understood by the fact that President Xi Jinping personally visited the factory to convey his appreciation to the workers and specifically recognize the outstanding contributions of Boss Zhou Zu Hui.

Dr Muhammad Iqbal Chawla with Dr Zhou Zu Hui, boss of the company

The buckwheat industry in Heshui village

The establishment of 20 acres of a buckwheat resource nursery in the Phoenix Xinchang Town, the purification of buckwheat varieties such as Phoenix Buckwheat, Phoenix Bitter No. 2, No. 3, and the promotion of polyculture farming with kiwi, buckwheat, oil tea and golden tea, and crop rotation and other innovative planting patterns, is a testament to the importance that Phoenix County’s government attaches to the development of relevant policies to increase the County’s buckwheat production. The support has been institutionalized through the establishment of Phoenix County Buckwheat Processing and Product Development Research Center and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences Crops Research Institute’s Zhou Meiliang Studio.

During my interview with Tian Xiao, the proprietor of the model farm, I inquired about the impressive accomplishments he had attained within a few short years. In response, he elaborated on the collaborative endeavors that had been ongoing since 2018. He told me that a buckwheat research team, led by researcher Zhou Meiliang from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hunan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Xiangxi State Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Phoenix County Agricultural and Rural Affairs Bureau, and other relevant technical personnel, was established to address the specific developmental needs of Phoenix County's buckwheat industry. Over the course of four years, their diligent research and implementation efforts have borne fruitful results. Tia Tian Xiao humbly expressed that his own role was not extraordinary, emphasizing the modesty of the team members and their consistent recognition of the invaluable contributions made by those who dedicated their efforts and passion to the success of such projects.

Xiangxi Yulong Ecological Agriculture Technology Co.

In 2021, the company's output value was 8 million yuan, in 2022, the output value from January to April alone was 2 million yuan. In 2022, the production of Huangshiqiao brand Phoenix Snow Tea eclipsed 50,000 kilograms. The brand is sold all over the country, especially in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong, Changsha, Zhangjiajie, and Xiangxi Prefecture. The company has developed a brand base of more than 3,000 acres in Phoenix County, including more than 1,300 acres in Huangshiqiao area and more than 1,700 acres in Liaojiaqiao area, which has led to the employment of more than 320 people, and has led to the elimination of poverty in 10 households, which has strengthened the foundation of countryside revitalization, and has made a certain contribution to the harmonious development of the socioeconomy. Mr Qin Zhen Fu, boss of the snow tea project, is a distinguished gentleman who possesses a deep passion for his business. With a strong commitment to research and innovation, he diligently operates the project.

Women empowernment in China

Xiangxi Wax World Batik Company’s boss is Ms Yao Liu Ju. The company's business scope includes batik, tie-dye and printing and dyeing apparel, handicrafts, artwork processing and sales; lodging, food and beverage services; batik, tie-dye and printing and dyeing skills training services; dye crop planting, processing and sales, etc. Yao Liuju's batik workshop has developed more than 1,000 tourism commodities with Xiangxi characteristics, more than 10,000 decorative paintings of landscapes, figures and Miao paintings, and more than 20,000 sets of batik dresses, which have achieved an annual sales of 3 million yuan. Based on the study tour and experience tour, Yao Liuju's company facilitates 30,000 tourists from Guangzhou, Guizhou, Zhangjiajie and other places to visit for experiences.

Pakistan's economic challenges stem from several factors, with a significant contributing factor being the substantial inequality. Consequently, it becomes evident that the socioeconomic conditions of the lower classes, especially the rural population, are severely inadequate. These circumstances are characterized by numerous prevailing issues, such as low productivity, limited employment opportunities, and a lack of access to quality education and technology. Instead of distributing the billions of dollars from the CPEC projects to the landlords, the government should prioritize the establishment of agro-based industries in Pakistan that have the potential to bring about transformative changes in both the agricultural and industrial sectors. This way, Pakistan can reap the benefits of these projects and foster significant progress and development. Moreover, in both the Pakistani and Chinese markets, mutual facilitation can be achieved through the exchange of industrialists, entrepreneurs, students, scholars, and officials. These individuals can actively participate in market research to gain valuable insights into local consumer preferences, the business landscape, and potential partnership opportunities. Such exchanges will foster a deeper understanding of market dynamics and aid in the identification of collaborative prospects. By examining Chinese county's industrial zones, we have discovered that the central government, county administration, and prominent political leaders like President Xi Jinping actively provide support and encouragement. They also prioritize the development of robust infrastructure, research, innovation, and productivity enhancement measures for grassroots-level industries. The question that continues to hold great significance is whether Pakistan's policymakers will relinquish the feudal approach and embrace the Chinese model. It remains a matter of considerable importance.

The author is the former Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of the Punjab in Lahore