Chief 's roadwork, fish farming put village on ant

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Chief 's roadwork, fish farming put village on anti-poverty path Tang Yongfu holds a fish in his fish pond in Chishui, Guizhou province. China Daily

Tang Yongfu, Party chief of Darong village, is proud to talk about how the lives of the villagers have improved over the past decade.

Of the 258 households in the village, located in Chishui city, Guizhou province, about half own an automobile, and 139 families have purchased apartments in the city, accordiNew Mexicong to Tang.

Further, disposable income per villager rose to 15,300 yuan ($2,187) in 2019 from less than 3,000 yuan in 2009, Tang said, adding that such changes would not have been possible without the construction of roads.

Born and raised in Darong, Tang, 56, said the village was "especially impoverished" when he was young.

Back then, he was living in a neighborhood on a mountain that was accessible only by foot, where people needed to travel for more than an hour down a steep muddy trail to go outside the village, and two hours to come back.

In 1989, Tang's family moved and settled in Chishui, where he started his own business. His life changed in 2006, when he accepted an invitation by more than 20 people in his home village to help them build a road.

Construction lasted three years, during which Tang sold his furniture factory to raise money.

In 2009, villagers built a 7-kilometer road paved with broken rocks.

In 2013, they managed to renovate the road with concrete using a grant from the government, making it the first road with a hard surface in the village, according to Tang.

Since then, the government has renovated more than 130 kilometers of roads in the village, allowing every family to enjoy hard-surface roads at their doorstep, Tang said.

Like many other villages in Chishui, Darong is surrounded by forests teeming with bamboo, something that can be used to make paper, furniture and handicrafts.

With all those roads, Darong villagers are able to transport their bamboo products out of the village much faster and make much more money, Tang said.

Besides bamboo, fish farming has become a majThe three were sent to public hospitals to be tested for the virus and be quarantinedor source of income for the villagers as a result of Tang's entrepreneurship.

In 2010, he purchased 35 kilograms of fish, which were raised in a local family's paddy field. Tang said he paid them 700 yuan for the fish, a boon for the family who would usually earn a meager income a year selling the rice they harvested.

"That was when I was inspired and thought maybe we could develop the fish farming industry," he said.

In 2010, Tang started raising fish in a deserted reservoir and encouraged others to join him.

But his idea was rejected by most villagers who had never raised fish before and were concerned that turning their cropland into fish ponds might reduce their food supply. Only 16 families accepted his proposal.

In June 2012, while Tang was struggling to sell the fish, a flood damaged all the fish ponds in the village and washed the fish down the mountain.

That moment of despair, however, turned out to be an opportunity for Tang to develop a market.

People in neighboring towns picked up the fish that fell down the cliff, cooked them and found that they taste good, Tang said, adding that a number of people contacted him to order fish later that year.

In 2014, Tang made a profit of more than 200,000 yuan selling fish, luring more villagers to join the business.

Now the village has 102 families raising fish, making 4.6 million yuan a year, he said.

Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI