Xiamen Village Uses Innovative Ways To Achieve Sustainable Economic Development While Preserving The culture

Situated in the tranquil landscape of Xiamen’s Tong’an District, Lianhua Village exemplifies China’s commitment to balanced development. The village’s transformative journey reveals the profound impact of the revival of rural communities, the boom of sugar apple industry, and the village’s rise as a vibrant tourist destination. 

The village’s transformation mirrors the overarching strategy of China’s Global Development Initiative (GDI), a visionary effort to bridge urban-rural disparities and foster inclusive growth. The village has strategically aligned its developmental trajectory with the GDI objectives, ushering in a paradigm shift in its economic and social dynamics. 

Li Zhike, an official with the Lianhua Village, said, “The city government and the national government have many preferential financial policies to support the revitalisation of villages. When you have a new project, they will provide subsidies and support to improve infrastructure and cultivate projects.” 

The meticulous construction of modern infrastructure, including expansive road networks, upgraded water supply systems, and enhanced energy facilities, serves as tangible evidence of the village’s commitment to fostering an environment conducive to economic growth and an elevated quality of life for its residents. 

Photo taken on 11 November 2023 shows a renovated traditional residence in Lianhua Village, Xiamen, Fujian Province (YU JIE)

Diverse approach  

The village’s renaissance stands as a microcosm of a broader national strategy to revitalise rural areas and foster vibrant, sustainable communities. Under the guidance from the researchers from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), the village has seamlessly integrated traditional practices into its development plans while adopting cutting-edge agricultural techniques. 

The researchers from UCAS underlined the multidimensional approach to rural revitalisation, emphasising the preservation of cultural heritage and promotion of environmentally friendly practices. The village doesn’t just focus on economic growth – it attaches enormous importance to the preservation of its rich culture. Li said, “Lianhua’s approach to rural revitalisation goes beyond economic metrics; it underscores the preservation of cultural roots, forging a harmonious balance between tradition and progress. This approach ensures a unique identity that resonates with both locals and visitors alike.” 

The village’s landscape is dotted with a harmonious coexistence of ancient customs and modern innovations. Traditional festivals, passed down through generations, are celebrated with fervour, offering both residents and visitors a glimpse into the rich tapestry of rural Chinese life. Local crafts, deeply rooted in tradition, have found new life as avenues for economic empowerment. 

The village stands as a testament to the seamless integration of smart farming techniques and sustainable agricultural practices. The embrace of these modern approaches not only amplifies agricultural productivity but also ensures the long-term resilience of rural communities. Beyond economic considerations, this commitment to sustainability is also aligned with national objectives of environmental stewardship. 

The village’s balancing act of preserving its cultural heritage and embracing modernity serves as an inspiring model for other communities with similar goals.

A sugar apple grower (left) explains the planting of the fruit to visitors in Lianhua Village, Xiamen, Fujian Province, on 13 November 2023 (YU JIE)

Sugar apple innovation  

Agriculture is the mainstay of the village’s economy, with sugar apple cultivation emerging as a symbol of both prosperity and innovation. The village has gained acclaim for its high-quality, locally grown sugar apples, with substantial sales at home and abroad, solidifying its position as a hub for sugar apple production. A report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development details the success of villages such as Lianhua in relying on agricultural innovation to elevate farmers’ income and stimulate economic growth. It states that “the rapid transformation of agri-food value chains, and the spread of technological innovations open up opportunities for small-scale farmers, as high-value products generate a higher return per hectare.” 

The sugar Apple farms cooperated with companies in Taiwan and used their seeds, thus raising productivity and farmer incomes.  

The sugar apple industry in the village not only fortifies the local economy but also serves as a model for sustainable agriculture. The embrace of organic farming practices is aligned with the vision of promoting environmentally friendly approaches to meet the burgeoning demand for high-quality agricultural products. 

View of a hot spring resort in Lianhua Village, Xiamen, Fujian Province (ChinAfrica) 

Tourism boom  

The village’s success in agriculture has also turned it into a popular tourist destination. 

A 2023 white paper from China’s State Council Information Office titled The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future recognises the potential of rural tourism in fostering economic growth and promoting cultural exchange.  

The scenic landscapes of Lianhua, coupled with the village’s rich cultural heritage, draw visitors from near and afar. Li noted, “We have brought some recreational projects here like a hot spring resort and a high-end cafe. The visitors are all attracted by the good environment – green mountains and good air – and are very confident we will attract many more people.” 

The triumph of the village in becoming a sought-after tourist destination underscores the latent potential of rural tourism in contributing to the broader goals of sustainable development. By showcasing the authentic charm of rural life, the village functions as a bridge between urban and rural cultures, fostering a sense of shared heritage and mutual respect.

African Times has published this article in partnership with ChinAfrica Magazine



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