Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 1

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62 tobaccoasia / Issue 1, 2016 March / April) The Achang are one of the least numerous of the 56 nationalities in China (Figure 1). They only have a population of 39,555 according to official census data from 2014. Most of the Achang cur- rently live in Dehong County, which is the border area between China and Myanmar. Both geologi- cal and political conditions have caused extreme poverty among the Achang in this region. In most of this area the altitude is over 1,000 m. Surround- ing mountains limit transportation. Because other industries are absent, the Achang make their living primarily through traditional agriculture. Dehong County is not only a border city, but also close to the Golden Triangle. Drugs and infectious dis- eases are constant social issues troubling the lo- cal government and people. Internal conflicts in Myanmar also threaten people here. In 2015, explosives from Myanmar army were accidently launched across the border killing several Chinese in this area. These conditions have caused severe poverty among the Achang. The average income of rural residents is RMB3,600 (around US$580) per year, which is much lower than the Chinese national standard for poverty. Recently, the central gov- ernment of the PRC promoted a plan to elimi- nate poverty for this minority people. As a state- owned company, Yunnan Tobacco Company is willing to take the social responsibility of starting the "Happy Achang" program. This program will introduce tobacco production and also promote non-tobacco cultivation, to increase the income of the Achang in Dehong County. In Husa Township, Dehong County, canola and rice have been the traditional dominant crops. They can bring between US$100-125 profit per mu (667 sq. m) annually, which is less than one third of the profit they could make growing tobacco. How- ever, this region has no traditional tobacco growing area because of its two climate limitations: a distinct Yunnan Tobacco Aims to Eliminate Poverty among the Achang Figure2. The technology of transplanted seedlings under plastic film: (A) Tobacco seedling in; (B) Tobacco seedling with plastic cover; (C) A bird view of tobacco field; (D) Tobacco seedlings coming out of plastic cover. By Congming Zou, Gaokun Zhao, Wenjie Tong, Xiaohai Zhang, and Tianfu Li

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