LHASA, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Samzhub's family has long picked matsutake mushrooms in the nearby mountains, selling them online to various customers. Now, their business model has been simplified, thanks to a new purchasing station that buys the mushrooms and sells them in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
"We previously sold our agricultural products through online platforms. Due to limited output and high logistics costs, the net profit was not good," said Samzhub, a resident of the city of Nyingchi in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.
"Since we started to cooperate with the matsutake processing company, we haven't had to worry about selling. And our income can be guaranteed," Samzhub added.
These benefits have not been felt only by Samzhub's family, but also by many other residents in Nyingchi. They are the beneficiaries of a program called "consumption aid for Tibet," which has been carried out by the assistance team from south China's Guangdong Province over the past three years.
The program aims to help special agricultural products from Nyingchi tap the market in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. In this way, farmers and herdsmen in Nyingchi can make bigger profits and finally realize common prosperity.
With the help of the Guangdong assistance team, Nyingchi matsutakes are now on the market of Macao.
"Local residents just need to send the mushrooms to purchasing stations, and the products will be transported to Guangdong by air the next day," said Liu Yan, who is in charge of the company. "Through this method, our company has helped 186 households of farmers and herdsmen become richer, and provided more than 50 stable jobs."
Guangdong Province is among the pioneers of China's reform and opening up, as well as being one of the economically powerful provinces. In contrast, Tibet was once a poverty-stricken region located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Its high altitude, harsh environment, poor transportation and lack of resources acted to hamper economic development.
The close connection between the two distant regions has its origins in the country's strategic decision to rally national support for Tibet back in 1994.
Under the policy of pairing-up assistance for Tibet, some central state organs, provincial-level regions, and centrally administered state-owned enterprises were designated to provide assistance to specific areas of Tibet, injecting strong impetus into the development of the plateau region.
Specifically, Beijing and Jiangsu Province have been providing pairing-up assistance to Lhasa, capital city of Tibet. Meanwhile, Shanghai, provinces of Shandong, Jilin and Heilongjiang, China Baowu Steel Group and chemical firm Sinochem Group have been pairing up with Xigaze, the second-largest city in Tibet. Guangdong Province has joined hands with Nyingchi.
Thanks to the continuous investment and huge support from the whole country, Tibet has undergone rapid development over the past decades.
Under the policy of pairing-up assistance, 52.7 billion yuan (7.7 billion U.S. dollars) was injected into Tibet through 6,330 projects between 1994 and 2020. Meanwhile, more than 9,600 cadres were also selected and dispatched to work in the region.
By the end of 2019, this autonomous region had eradicated absolute poverty.
The GDP of Tibet increased from 71 billion yuan in 2012 to 208 billion yuan in 2021. The per capita disposable income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet has achieved double-digit growth for 19 consecutive years.
Meanwhile, the average life expectancy in Tibet has increased from a mere 35.5 years in 1951 to 72.19 years in 2021. Tibet is the first provincial-level region in China to provide 15 years of publicly funded education, from kindergartens to senior high schools. ■