Deputy gets village going on cash crops

Updated:May 25,2020 09:08 AM China Daily

HEFEI-Wang Mengmeng carries a notebook wherever she goes. From questions to suggestions, or even complaints, she writes it all down during her talks with villagers.

"That's my way to get to know the villagers. Whether it's about agricultural production or loan applications, we will respond to their concerns as soon as possible," says Wang, Party chief of Xikong village in Dingyuan county, East China's Anhui province.

However, things were totally different when she first came to the village in 2013. Nobody trusted her. She was just a 25-year-old graduate.

Unlike her classmates who pursued dreams in big cities, Wang, against her parents' wishes, returned to her hometown of Dingyuan and settled down in Xikong, intending to vitalize the rural area.

People had been planting rice and wheat in the village for decades until the arrival of the young graduate.

She proposed to upgrade agriculture by introducing more profitable crops such as vegetables, grapes and strawberries. She invested 100,000 yuan ($14,000) in her strawberry-planting experiment in 2013 even though nobody believed she could succeed.

"She looked too weak and thin for farm work back then," says Jin Jiaqun, a 65-year-old resident of the village.

Within less than a month, more than half of the strawberry seedlings perished. She was so frustrated and burst into tears looking at the decaying plants. She had to replant the seedlings after consulting with experts.

"It wasn't very successful in the first year, but I was able to break even and gained plenty of experience," says Wang, who won people's trust with her actions.

Seven years on, more than 260 hectares of land have been used in the village to plant cash crops such as strawberries and watermelons, or raise crawfish, earning villagers an average annual income of 15,000 yuan. A total of 135 households have come out of poverty.

Wang was elected as a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, in 2018.

At this year's "two sessions", she plans to draw people's attention to digital-community construction and call for more support for rural areas.

"My task is to represent the masses and look for the right direction for rural development," says Wang.