Xinjiang cotton cultivation lifts living standards
A cotton harvesting machine works a field in Yuli county, Bayingol Mongolian autonomous prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. [Photo provided to ChinaDaily]
Cotton growers from Yuli county in Bayingol Mongolian autonomous prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, countered negative Western narratives of Xinjiang's cotton cultivation at a news conference on Tuesday by citing personal experiences.
The cotton field in Yuli county has surpassed 66,600 hectares, with a mechanization rate above 96 percent.
Arkin Rehim, a 49-year-old cotton farmer in Yuli county, is glad to see that his field of more than 33 hectares has yielded a harvest this year.
"Each mu of land can yield more than 400 kilograms of cotton. The total crop is likely to sell for 1 million yuan ($155,100) this year, which delights me," he said.
He used to be a herdsman and once ran a restaurant. After he was told in 2005 that cotton was profitable, he switched to cotton growing.
"Back then, agricultural experts and technicians were dispatched by the local government to teach us how to grow cotton in a scientific way. That helped me a lot," he recalled, adding that as the mechanization level rose in recent years, he was able to produce high-quality cotton at a lower cost.
Sami Yusup, 26, drives a cotton harvesting machine in Yuli county and can earn 14,000 yuan monthly. He used to be a tractor driver. In 2018, he found that some young people in his village went to learn to drive harvesting machines. A qualified operator could earn more than 10,000 yuan per month. So he joined them the next year.
"The development of agricultural technologies here has changed my life and enabled me to learn new skills and improve my living condition," he said.