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Village in S China's Guangdong gets facelift with help from 'agricultural CEO'

   People's Daily Online   08:56, June 21, 2024

Photo shows Shiping village after renovation. (Photo/Tao Yi)

Ding Qiufeng, an agricultural manager, colloquially dubbed an "agricultural CEO," has spearheaded the transformation of Shiping village in south China's Guangdong Province, serving as a model for the province's efforts to uplift rural communities.

In 2022, Guangdong launched a project to promote rural revitalization and coordinated development between rural and urban areas. As part of the initiative, the province introduced a professional agricultural manager training program, aiming to cultivate over 1,000 agricultural managers within three years. Ding was among the first 100 individuals to complete the training.

Ding Qiufeng (first from left) introduces Shiping village to tourists. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

Ding faced numerous challenges in renovating the village, located in Lianshan Zhuang and Yao Autonomous County, Qingyuan city. These obstacles included persuading local villagers to embrace new ideas, renovating abandoned houses, and finding new uses for abandoned farmland.

"The key to development lies in revitalizing idle resources and involving more villagers," said Ding.

Ding invited agricultural companies and training organizations to help revitalize the village's resources, which included land leased to individuals, land owned by the village collective for business and construction purposes, and land used for housing and construction.

Photo shows a coffee shop in Shiping village, Yonghe township, Lianshan Zhuang and Yao Autonomous County, Qingyuan city, south China's Guangdong Province. (Photo courtesy of the interviewee)

The village also employed various strategies to attract investment, including transferring land rights and entrusting land management to others.

Shiping village has undergone a remarkable transformation, now offering a range of amenities, including a tourist center, coffee shops, restaurants, B&B hotels, bonfire parties, and a shared vegetable garden. In 2023, the village hosted more than 600 training and team-building events, significantly increasing the income of 826 households.

The improved appearance of the village has attracted young people to return and start businesses. Among them is Jiang Xinyu, a young villager born in the 2000s, who seized the opportunity to open a coffee shop following the renovations.