Village in Hunan Province Brings Prosperity to Farmers by Developing Paint Industry | Kathmandu Grandstand
About 70 kilometers up the Liuyang River from downtown Liuyang in central China’s Hunan Province is Xiaohe, a township surrounded by mountains and home to more than 400 farmers-turned-painters.
Zhan Qiuming is a 50-year-old farmer-turned-painter from the Xinhe village of Xiaohe. Zhan has a real penchant for painting. “I want to paint it whenever I see the mist surrounding the mountains on the ground. When I see people playing along the glistening river in our village, I want to paint it too,” the man told The Daily. People.
From a farmer who knew nothing about painting to an artist who could draw the beautiful landscapes of his hometown, it took Zhan more than three years to complete the transition.
Zhan lived on a local mountain with his family. In 2016, they left the mountain due to the efforts of Xiaohe Township to advance the construction of new countryside. However, they only owned four mu (0.27 hectares) of farmland at the time. To earn a living, Zhan had to take part-time jobs nearby so that it would be easier for him to take care of his elderly parents and school-aged son.
In 2017, Xiaohe Township decided to fight poverty by developing local industries and invited artists and art students to teach farmers how to paint. He also signed contracts with relevant companies that would help farmers sell their work.
Seeing that her neighbors were earning money from the painting business, Zhan encouraged his wife to join her. However, it wasn’t made for painting, so Zhan tried it himself.
“I felt the brush was heavier than a hoe when I first picked it up,” Zhan said, explaining that he could barely control the brush.
After a month, Zhan could only draw lines, but “stopping” was not in his vocabulary. After each painting lesson, he continued to learn online, and three months later he sold his first work for five yuan ($0.73).
Today, one of his paintings is worth around 600 to 700 yuan.
In a workshop diverted from a barn in the village, several farmers were busy painting, including Huang Baiyou.
“We have an ‘assembly line’ to produce the paints, and I’m responsible for the first procedure,” the 49-year-old said, sketching lines in the workshop.
Before joining the studio, Huang had worked for 10 years in Dongguan, Guangdong province (southern China), and she felt guilty for being away from home and not being able to take care of her parents. and his children.
She quit her job in Dongguan and returned home soon after the studio was established. “Now I can earn around 3,000 yuan a month. This job allows me to take care of both my crops and my family,” she said.
Paint business is one of the industries vigorously developed by Xiaohe Township to align poverty alleviation achievements with rural revitalization.
The canton has five villages and 15,000 inhabitants. It was once the village with the highest poverty rate in Liuyang. Today, it is home to six paint studios and 460 farmer-turned-painters, whose works are sold in more than 10 countries. The paint company lifted 42 registered poor households from the township out of poverty.
In recent years, the township has built a series of famous tourist attractions on the Internet, attracting more than 300,000 visitors a year. It not only achieved targeted poverty reduction, but also beautified the countryside and brought wealth to farmers.
“I never left my hometown in my whole life, and I never thought that my paintings could go overseas,” Zhan told People’s Daily.