China has introduced the "Flag Bearer" program to cultivate skills in rural industries, as part of a rural revitalization effort. Our reporter Yu Li visited training sessions being conducted under the program at Shenyang Agriculture University in northeast Liaoning Province, to see how it's working.
More than 250 talented people from rural Liaoning Province, northeast China, attended Shenyang Agriculture University for training. This is the first local training under the "Flag Bearer" project.
Participants included family farm owners, directors of farmers' cooperatives, and rural collective institution leaders. Some want to expand their business.
Luo Feng, Trainee, "Flag Bearer" Program:"My farm grows food and medication. Instead of wasting the maize straw, I want to raise sheep on it. Sheep manure feeds the land anew. It reduces costs and boosts value."
Some are seeking cures to problems that have long been a headache.
Sun Weidong, Trainee, "Flag Bearer" Program:"I grow strawberries, and I was worried about diseases and pests that could hurt them. At the training session, I learned a lot."
Some want to learn the entire process, from planting to operating and marketing.
Gong Meijiao, Trainee, "Flag Bearer" Program:"For more than ten years, I worked in the city. Now I'm back home to start a business in the rural area. I learned how to create a greenhouse, manage pests, grow strawberries professionally, and analyze national agriculture policy that benefits our firm."
The training will last for a year and will include off-line sessions, online classes, and long-distance one-on-one help whenever trainees need it when they get back home.
Sun Wei, Deputy Director, Department of Further Education, Shenyang Agricultural University:"We are glad to take on the 'Flag Bearer' project because one of the main purposes of higher education is to serve society. It's a good thing that we can help promote scientific farming."
The talent-focused project was initiated by State Council ministries with subsidies as part of the efforts for China to raise the standard of living for rural residents and achieve rural revitalization.
Yu Li, Shenyang, Liaoning Province:"A crucial factor in developing a rural area is talent. The vast majority of participants I spoke to said that training is extremely beneficial and important to their careers. Those who gain expertise elsewhere are all driven by a desire to build a successful business when they return home and help their fellow farmers produce greater crops in the future. Yu Li, CGTN, Shenyang, Liaoning Province."