Baitu Village: Sustainable growth with scientific breeding

By / HICN / Updated: 10:06,04-October-2021

How can China’s countless villages achieve sustainable prosperity? Chinese scientist Yin Yulong has a time-tested prescription for that: “To get rich, raise livestock and poultry first.” 

At a forum hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences three years ago, Yin gave the example of the hog farming industry. Its output value accounted for three-fourth of the output value of the entire livestock industry at that time, and 18 percent of agricultural output value. To put it into perspective, it was comparable to the income generated by the automobile industry.

Breeding livestock is a key part of revitalizing the rural areas that have lagged behind the cities in development. And ensuring the prosperity of rural areas is a key part of the poverty alleviation drive. Rural revitalization is therefore also about fostering entrepreneurship, developing the rural culture, and ensuring a  sustainable future for the countryside.

Baitu, a village in Hainan’s Wenchang city, is showing the way, adapting new scientific technologies to tap the full potential of its livestock and poultry industry. Scientific breeding has expanded the scale of the chicken industry and made it sustainable, providing a stable and long-term income for the local farmers.

Aerial view of Baitu

Wenchang’s free-range chickens are famous for their flavor

The Wenchang chicken is famous in Hainan for its succulent and tender meat. It is a favorite with both the locals and the millions of tourists who visit the island every year. As a result, there is a steady demand for the high-quality, free-range chickens.
The village committee is working with the local farmers and the Hainan Xinquan Wenchang Chicken Company to expand the Wenchang chicken industry.

Chicks in the hatchery of the Hainan Xinquan Wenchang Chicken Company

The committee is responsible for building the chicken breeding facilities, while the company provides the chicks, their feed, vaccines and veterinary drugs, as well as technical support. Once the farmers raise the chicks, the company buys them back at a pre-agreed-upon price. So if there are fluctuations in the market prices and sales, it is the company that bears the risk, not the farmers.  

The free-range chickens reared in Baitu

The end result is a steady supply and demand for the healthy, high-quality free-range chickens that supports local farmers in the long term. 

Other industries in the village include goat farming and growing shrimps.

Baitu has developed a new business model to increase the availability of farm-to-table black goat meat products

Shrimp farms in Baitu

Shrimp farming is another growing industry. The farms in the village are investing in training and agro-science education and developing modern management practices. Today, they can produce two to three crops a year.
Smaller production units have led to better management. Better management means the shrimps have a higher survival rate. Shrimp farmers follow semi-intensive farming, which means rearing the shrimps in several small areas with better water quality and aeration instead of in one large area packed with fish fry.

Baitu’s shrimps are sold to major cities all across China. 

Smart agriculture has become an important step in rural revitalization

Despite the success, Baitu is still grappling with many challenges in developing its agriculture. These include a weak foundation and lack of large-scale operation and production.

According to Yin Yulong, there are still many problems in rural development, such as backward management and having to ensure that production does not degrade the environment by over-exploitation of natural resources and the use of chemicals. 

But in spite of the many challenges to upgrade and transform agriculture, it is moving in the right direction.

Baitu has shown that though rural revitalization is a mammoth task, it is still achievable by following scientific breeding techniques, remodeling the agricultural chain, and providing training and education. It is also equally important to have good governance so that the result is a model that works from the ground up.

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