Dave Bromwich and Roger Davies visited NZCFS projects in Gansu during April. These projects aim to continue Rewi Alley’s legacy of assisting chinese people in Shandan and neighbouring counties to lift their farming economy through agric. education, research, and the forming of farmer /producer cooperatives. The respect and affection with which George Hogg and Rewi Alley are still regarded is illustrated by the wreaths left at their graves on Qing Ming, the day when Chinese people pay respect to ancestors. The fond
regard for New Zealand and its people in China is due in part to the work of Rewi who “laid the foundation for economic and cultural development in Shandan” [Shandan Govt.]. Continuing his work is one way to assist the friendly and commercial relationships between our two countries.
Meeting with Shandan County Governor Liu Xiaoyun and his staff:centre to right: Dave Bromwich, Ma GuoHua [interpreting /SBS], Roger Davies, and John Kirby [NZCFS teacher: SBS] discussing Shandan Government’s requests for cooperation and exchange:
Education: NZCFS’ ongoing teacher supply /student exchange programme with SBS [Shandan Bailie School]; the difficulty for Shandan families in affording nz school fees; extending teacher exchange to kindergarten, primary, and secondary schools; nz teachers to assist with teacher training; cooperation to improve listening and speaking ability of teachers and students.
Agriculture: sheep farming [incl. feeding /pasture management /forage species selection]; plant breeding; agricultural produce processing; specialised farmer cooperatn; livestock improvement. Grapes: table grape production, cold storage, and marketing. Red Pear: introduction of new species; technical guidance. Shandan Cooperative Federation: NZCFS has assisted in the establishment /development of 29 producer cooperatives, and is continuing this work through training, information exchange, and technical assistance [see below].
Culture: Rewi Alley Museum: rebuilding; training 1 to 2 English expositors; Shandan Bailie Library: rebuilding 2,800 m² library; Folk Crafts: production, promotion /marketing, sales. Performing Arts: exchange. Tourism: product development. The meeting was a prelude to Selwyn District delegation July visit.
Rewi Alley established SBS farms, and initiated a gelogical survey of the region, which led to local minerals being used for chemical manufacture; the chemicals being needed for the many industrial processes carried out by SBS students for training /school supply.
Zhangye Vice Mayor Kang Qing and his department heads also discussed with us the potential for nz-cn cooperation. Zhangye City administers six counties in the Hexi Corridor region: Shandan, Minle, Ganzhou, Linze, Gaotai, and Sunan Counties. In recent years there has been a move to add value to Zhangye’s local resources, for example manufacturing dried lucerne pellets, tomato ketchup, and potato flour for export. Zhangye Government would welcome our cooperation and expertise, particularly in food [incl. beef] processing technology, introduction of pasture and lucerne cultivars, education, mining, and chemical processing. Details of the 64 cooperation and investment opportunities in the region can be sent on request by contacting Roger Davies: [email protected] / +64 3 6974870 Our assistance can lead to improved farm income, and increase in employment opportunities; in turn encouraging migrant workers to return home.
Desert village main street. A local farm supplies agent has his roll of plastic mulch [left] for dispensing: essential to reduce water loss in spring sown crops which will exploit moisture from winter snow.
Following the 2006-2008 cooperatives establishment projects in Shandan County, visits to Zhangye District farming cooperatives highlighted the success and value of the SBS /NZCFS ‘trainer of trainers’ programme begun in 2008, and the valuable involvement and contribution of Zhangye Agricultural Bureau and Womens’ Federation towards that success.
This cooperative visited at Minle has found farming cooperatively energises the rural economy through unity and ‘brand strength’, and, significantly, enables women to take part, promoting harmony in the home. Two women are in charge of business management of this coop growing onions, carrots, sunflwrs, and medicinal herbs in sufficient quantity to gain a contract to supply a Beijing company.
Famland at Minle, with the Qilian Mountains rising to over 5,000m in the haze beyond. Kathleen Hall /He Ming Qing Nursing Scholar Shi Hongli’s home is in Minle County, in a farming village similar to that shown below, following a late snowfall.
Huntan vegetable growing cooperative in Ganzhou County grows tomatoes, peppers, and egg plants in 500 dapeng [greenhouses], owned by 800 member households. Through selection from their own crops, the coop now produces its own disease resistant seed. Produce is sold under contract, with excess going to local market.
Chen Zhinian [Director. Shandan Cooperative Federation] with coop members outside their greenhouse covered with frost mats. Shandan Bailie School acts as Cooperatives Training Centre. Training has had an emphasis on cooperative organisation and economic management [incl. marketing], and coop leaders now express a need for more agronomy training /expertise.
Roger Davies; Dave Bromwich; Chen Xinlu and Peng Dongjun [outgoing and incoming SBS Principals]; Rob and Lee Ferguson [Hawkes Bay teachers: Hexi Xueyuan]; Wen Yongming [Assistant Principal: SBS /Cooperatives Training Centre Coordinator].
Hexi College in Zhangye asked NZCFS for help, with the eventual aim of developing their farm as a research and experimental facility of relevance to the wider NW China region. Following NZCFS’ facilitatory role, Lanzhou University College of Pastoral Agriculture, Science, and Technology [CPAST] has drawn up an agreement of exchange and cooperation with Hexi College. This is particularly exciting as their prestigious academic position and research emphasis on livestock feeding rather than genetics has much to offer livestock farming in the dry regions of NW China.