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«Juanwen Yuan Thesis committee Thesis supervisor Prof. dr. A. Niehof Professor of Sociology of Consumers and Households Wageningen University Thesis ...»

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The municipality of Kaizuo encompasses 37 villages, belonging to three administrative villages (see Section 4.4). According to KPG (2007), there are 2127 households with a total population of 9620. The number of illiterate adults is 1907.

The average income per capita is 2168 yuan. The arable land in Kaizuo takes up 17,800 mu, among which 11,680 mu is paddy field, while the upland covers 6000 mu. In 2007, there were 3000 mu of fruit trees, mainly apple, pear, and raspberry.

The cultivation of mushrooms covers 220 mu, while that of watermelon covers 200 mu. It is the rice production base of Changshun County. There are four small private factories, introduced by the government and located in the newly planned development zone. These factories are a pottery factory, a charcoal-making factory, a resin-making factory, and a ferrous alloy factory. The electricity coverage is 100 percent. All villages have paved roads that can be accessed by motorized vehicles.

50 Chapter 4

The crude birth rate is 6.9 ‰. The annual revenue of the municipality is 1,836,300 yuan (KPG, 2007). There are also several small coal and limestone mines, run by the villagers themselves.

Kaizuo has a subtropical climate, with an average annual temperature of ° 14°C, and lies at an altitude of 1250 metres. The total precipitation is approximately 1214 mm, while the total sunshine time is 1265 hours. There are four seasons. The unfavourable periods in the year in terms of climate are a drought from June to August, extreme cold in April, and fierce winds in September11.

There are two kinds of agro-ecological areas. One is a rice-based paddy field area and the other is a maize-based upland field area. The average landholding per capita is above the average level in Guizhou province. Rice, maize and rapeseed are the main crops (Sun, 2007). The staple food is rice. Some villages also cultivate tobacco, which is promoted by the government. Some villages grow watermelon. Recently, the cultivation of fruit trees and other cash crops has been increasing. Most households have home gardens, but the vegetables they grow there are mainly for self-consumption.

There is one school in the municipality’s centre, which teaches primary as well as middle school students. Several village-based schools only accommodate primary school students. Since 2006, the Chinese government does not charge any tuition fee and book fee for primary school students or middle school students in rural areas. Yet, the students have to go to the county centre to attend high school and have to pay higher tuition fees if they want to go to a better high school. There is one municipal clinic and a number of village clinics. There is a market in the municipality, and Friday is market day. There are three nearby markets, too, taking place on different market days.

From 1990 onward, the provincial government has launched the Integrated Rural Development Project in the municipality. This has provided the framework for the promotion of many hybrid crops, fruits, and animal raising. The agricultural infrastructure and agricultural production technologies have improved a lot. The people began to grow hybrid crops. The project was implemented only until 1996, because it was part of a five-year plan. The villagers had already planted many fruit trees. The yield is not high, however, because the villagers do not master fruit cultivation technologies very well and the technical services are poor and limited.

The Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) project has been implemented from 1995 onward. It is supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Canada). At the beginning, only the villages of Dabuyang and Xiaozhai were involved in it. Yet, recently, the project covers most of the villages within the municipality. The project promotes the collective management of natural resources and provides a lot of agricultural technological information, required by the villagers on crops, fruit trees, and animal husbandry.

The project applies a gender perspective; women are required to attend village committee meetings and other natural resource management activities.

Every year, the government provides training and projects on rural development. Compared to other municipalities in Changshun County, the The CBNRM project team, Guizhou Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1998), The Final 11 technical report of the CBNRM project.

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municipality of Kaizuo has fewer activities, because it is one of the richer municipalities in the county. At the same time, the county government thinks that Kaizuo gets too much support from the two projects mentioned above and would like to support other, poorer municipalities. There are also government subsidies for grain production. In 2006, the subsidy given to the villagers in Kaizuo was 103,721 yuan for rice production (KPG, 2006).

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Figure 4.2 shows the distribution of the selected seven villages in the municipality.

They belong to one administrative village (before November 2007, it was two). However, they belong to two kinds of agricultural systems. Dabuyang, Guntang, and Xiaobuyang are rice-based villages (paddy field villages), while the other villages are upland villages that have maize-based farming (see Table 4.1).

Vehicles can access all seven villages, but there is public transportation to the first three villages only. The first three villages are not far from the municipality centre (less than two kilometres) and it is easy for the people living there to go to the market, the township school and the clinic. For the other four villages the distance is more than four kilometres. There is one incomplete primary school (only grades 1, 3, and 4) and one private clinic in these four villages. All the villages have tap water; only a few households are still fetching water from a well. Cattle are usually brought to small ponds for drinking.

Thirty years after the implementation of the HRS, the landholding appears to be unbalanced. One household may have been allotted land intended for nine people, while only five people use it. Some lands have been abandoned or reclaimed by the forest. Another household got land meant for one person only, while four people are using it. There is no food security problem in these villages.

The poorest households can get government subsidies that will enable them to survive. The households with too little landholding migrated earlier, once they found no possibilities to earn enough money through cultivating land. For this reason, the remaining households no longer classify as poor, even though their landholding is little.

52 Chapter 4

The average household size is about five people (Table 4.1). Most unmarried young people migrate to earn money; eighty percent of them are working in the industrialized provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangshu, and Guangdong.

About half of the married men below 40 also migrate to other provinces. There are few migrants who are older than 40. Married women rarely migrate. If they do, they usually accompany their husbands. Married men who are older than 40, usually work either in the nearby coal-mine or on building sites in the vicinity.

Almost all the unmarried younger people migrate. Their numbers have been increasing rapidly during the past five years. The education of young people is higher than that of older people, especially that of women. Most young people graduate from middle school or a higher form of education.

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The local energy sources are mainly electricity, coal, and firewood. Most households have an electric cooker, while an increasing number of households has an electromagnetic stove. They also have biogas, which the government has been promoting for several years. More villagers have begun to use small agricultural machines since the government has started to subsidize these. In the upland

53The research area

villages, the villagers help each other and exchange labour in the busy season, even nowadays. There are only two grain-processing households in the seven villages, but many households have small machines for processing maize for their own consumption, especially in the upland area. In the paddy field villages, the main sources of income are migration, rice cultivation, and animal husbandry.

Agricultural land use is not very diversified, because the villagers do not have enough upland fields to cultivate a diversity of crops (Table 4.2). Rice and rapeseed are the main crops in the paddy field villages. In the upland villages, rice fields are very small and the harvested rice is enough for the household’s own consumption only. In the past, the villagers had to sell maize and use the money to buy rice.

Maize was one of their staple foods in the past, but rice has always been the preferred staple because maize is regarded as poor people’s food. Now, they have enough rice to eat and can use the surplus maize to feed the pigs.

In the seven villages, married husbands usually engage in circular migration to work in the mines, on construction sites, and in transportation. If men leave for long-distant migration, they usually take their wives with them. Fewer wives migrate alone, compared to men who migrate alone. Some younger wives are left at home to manage the land, but these are few. The ones left at home are mostly the older people and children. Even if migration and cash crops provide people with more cash, they still regard rice and maize as the important resources for basic security. Only a few households that do not migrate abandon the rice and maize cultivation.

Table 4.2 Livelihoods in the seven villages Villages Main livelihood crops/resources Dabuyang Rice, rapeseed, migration, animal husbandry Guntang Rice, rapeseed, migration, animal husbandry Xiaobuyang Rice, rapeseed, migration, animal husbandry Dongkou Maize, rice, animal husbandry, watermelon, circular migration Xiaozhai Maize, rice, animal husbandry, watermelon, migration Xinzhaiyuan Maize, rice, animal husbandry, migration Dabang Maize, rice, animal husbandry, tobacco, migration * Ranking according to villagers’ perception of importance Many households have built new and good quality concrete brick houses12, especially during the past three years.

In the village of Xiaozhai, only five households still do not have modern houses. In the village of Dabuyang, all households but two have concrete brick houses. Some have even built threestoreyed concrete brick houses. Eighty percent of the cost for building a new house comes from migration (both long-term migration and circular migration), although some households have to borrow money for building a new house as well.

The common houses are concrete brick houses, houses with a concrete roof and a brick 12 wall, or tile roof houses with a timber or brick wall. The first variety is regarded as a better house.

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4.4 The administrative system The administrative system counts five levels: a central, provincial, prefecture, county and municipal level (see Figure 4.3) (also see Sun, 2007). Some bureaus are only found at four levels and do not have a municipal-level station, such as the poverty alleviation office. The village administration does not belong to the governmental system. Natural villages form one administrative village. Village leaders are elected among the villagers. They have to cultivate their own land. The seven research villages are seven natural villages13.

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Figure 4.3: The administrative system (adapted from Liu et al.

, 2004) 13 Natural villages are villages that have evolved naturally around their original settlers.

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4.5 Agriculture and livelihood The Household Responsibility Systems (HRS) In the municipality of Kaizuo, the implementation of the HRS started in 1980. In 1981, the system was fully implemented. Land was allocated to each household to manage, but most villages reserved several parcels of land for collective purposes.

Later, this reserved land was allocated to households with few landholdings, or was used for collective purposes, such as village buildings and village roads. In the seven villages, no collective land remains. The land was divided based on soil quality and location. Each household was allocated both good land and poor quality land. At the start of the HRS, the villagers did not pay much attention to the land contract. They thought the lands would be returned to the collective to manage after five or fifteen years. In 1995, there was a second round of land allocation after the first 15-year contract period. Land was contracted to each household for another thirty years in this second round. In Kaizuo, however, the land was not reallocated as was done in other provinces. The households only renewed the contract certificate and extended the contract period. The unbalance of household landholding was therefore not resolved; nowadays, it is still increasing.

Some households have moved to the city but still own their land, while others households have grown but could not get more land.

Farming The main agricultural crops are rice, maize, and rapeseed. The staple food is rice.

Rice is grown on the paddy fields, while maize is grown in the uplands. Rapeseed grows on both fields after the rice or maize has been harvested. During the festivals, a lot of sticky rice is consumed. Many households grow it for their own consumption only. The input for a rice field per mu includes 10 yuan for seeds; 1,5 yuan for pesticides; 30 yuan for fertilizer; and 100 yuan for labour (hired during transplanting and harvesting). The income per mu is 700 yuan (not including the labour cost of the household itself). Most households have home gardens, but the produced vegetables are mostly for home consumption and not for the market.

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