Supportive policies help Xinjiang herdsman shake off poverty

From a herdsman to a salaried man, Polatinur Juandehr has bid farewell to poverty thanks to a string of supportive policies in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Region.Autonomous

The only possessions of the ethnic Kazakh herdsman were two cows given by his parents when he got married about 15 years ago, which were not enough to support a whole family. Juandehr needed to herd for other herdsmen and still found it hard to make both ends meet.

Things began to change in 2016 when Juandehr's family, along with other 851 poverty-stricken households, moved to a township in Qinghe County, Altay Prefecture in Xinjiang for better living conditions with the help of local government.

Each poverty-stricken household could get 0.67 hectares of land according to local policies, and every member of these households could get 3,500 yuan (about 496.48 U.S. dollars) for leasing the land to agriculture-related companies each year.

Local government not only provided residential buildings with complete water and electricity facilities for these poverty-stricken households but built a total of 36 cowsheds that herdsmen could use for free.

Juandehr applied for a 50,000-yuan poverty alleviation loan from the local government and bought five cows. "I can earn more than 1,000 yuan by supplying fresh milk to a dairy plant in the township," he said.

Hearing that local enterprises could offer better pay, Juandehr and other herdsmen were not satisfied with taking care of their livestock. They decided to look after the livestock in turns and find jobs in these enterprises to increase income.

Juandehr found a job in an agricultural equipment company in the township and could earn more than 4,000 yuan each month after several months' training. Now Juandehr has paid off his loan and increased his cows to seven. "My income is much better than before," he said.

More than 10,000 peasants and herdsmen in the county has been lifted out of poverty with better living conditions since 2014.

Xinjiang has implemented a string of supportive measures to boost employment, such as providing loans and subsidies and cutting taxes for those who set up small and micro-enterprises or are engaged in self-employed business.

Creating jobs has been a top priority for Xinjiang to enhance people's wellbeing and fight poverty. Official statistics showed that a total of 645,000 people were estimated to have cast off poverty in the autonomous region in 2019. The region is determined to eradicate absolute poverty by lifting the remaining 165,800 people out of poverty this year.