Postgraduate students help vitalize rural areas in SW China’s Guizhou province

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A farmer in Longtu village, Guandong township, Congjiang county, southwest China’s Guizhou province, fixes branches of passion fruit trees at a planting base, July 22, 2021. (Photo by Lu Zhongnan/People’s Daily Online)
A farmer in Longtu village, Guandong township, Congjiang county, southwest China’s Guizhou province, fixes branches of passion fruit trees at a planting base, July 22, 2021. (Photo by Lu Zhongnan/People’s Daily Online)

By Cheng Huan

Since 2017, Guizhou University in southwest China’s Guizhou province has sent doctoral students and master’s students to help villages of the province with development under a program designed to boost the vitalization of rural areas in Guizhou.

In midsummer this year, the kiwi fruit industrial belt in Shuicheng district, Liupanshui city of Guizhou, is about to embrace a good harvest, thanks to the guidance of Mo Feixu, a doctoral student majoring in plant protection at the College of Agriculture of Guizhou University.

Seeing plump kiwi fruits weigh down thick vines with lush leaves, farmers happily take and share photos of their orchards with friends on social media platform WeChat.

Zhang Rongquan, a horticulturist at the management committee of an agricultural industrial park of Shuicheng district, saw unusual white spots on some kiwi fruits from farmers’ photos. Zhang was so concerned about the situation that he then consulted Mo about it.

“It looks like the tree has soft rot, but I can only confirm it after checking the tree on site,” said Mo, who then went to the industrial belt together with four of his fellows. As the head of the kiwi fruit cultivation team under the program, Mo has been very meticulous about his work.

“It is indeed soft rot, a disease that causes the fruit to go bad from the inside of its pulp. It is hard to be discovered at the early stage,” Mo concluded, adding that 10 percent of the kiwi trees in the industrial belt had been infected and the output would be reduced by at least 20 percent unless prompt and effective measures would be taken to control and prevent the disease.

With the help of his doctoral supervisor Long Youhua, chief expert in kiwi fruit industry of Guizhou, Mo and his team members soon formulated a detailed plan for disease control. The plan was provided for all fruit growers in Guizhou as fruit management guidelines by Guizhou fruit and vegetable industry association.

“I’m proud to be able to help villagers solve problems using what I have learned at school,” said Mo, who felt relieved that the disease of kiwi fruits got eased.

Centering around its 12 expert teams specializing in pillar industries of rural areas, Guizhou University has established practice teams made up of doctoral students and master’s students, with doctoral students being the main participants, for the program. These teams have facilitated the vitalization of rural areas in Guizhou by contributing to the endeavor of the province to reduce poverty by developing industries and providing technical and talent support for these areas.

“Since the program was launched, we have sent over 300 teams involving more than 10,000 participants to help rural areas with development,” said Qi Ya, deputy head of the postgraduate student office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Guizhou University committee.

“As researchers on agricultural technologies, we need to connect our papers with the actual situation in fields and turn ourselves into pragmatic dream-seeker in modern agriculture,” said Ji Da, a postgraduate student majoring in aquaculture at the College of Zoology of Guizhou University, as well as leader of the ecological fishery team under the program. Ji will soon lead his team to Duyun city in Guizhou to carry out artificial breeding of red carp.

“We have cultivated the first batch of hybrid fry, and will try to develop high-quality new varieties that grow fast as soon as possible to help farmers obtain greater economic benefits,” Ji noted.

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