Jiangsu’s agricultural heritage boosts rural revitalization
East China’s Jiangsu Province is widely known as a trade and economy powerhouse in China, but the province’s rich agricultural heritage is also playing a vital role in supporting the rural revitalization strategy.
Xinghua City’s Duotian agrosystem, which is the local name for "raised field", refers to small patches of soil created to have easy access to water for growing crops. It has been a world wonder for its unique water-land utilization method in low-lying land and its splendid landscape. April is also a good time to view cole flowers set amid a network of rivers and lakes in the Duotian landscape, the key attraction to tourists to Xinghua.
Photo taken on Mar. 26, 2021 shows cole flower fields in Xinghua. Photo/CFP
The province has six agricultural systems recognized as heritage as they often reflect a profound harmony between humanity and nature. It also has 12 famous historical and cultural villages and 33 traditional villages. The farming tradition and culture is injecting fresh momentum into the booming growth of the countryside area.
Meng Defu, an official of the Jiangsu Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, hailed the province’s long history of farming due to its geographical advantages and superior weather. Jiangsu has been ranked as one of China’s 13 major grain-producing provinces and four major tea-producing regions. It has enjoyed the reputation as “the land of fish and rice" and "the breadbasket of the world."
The province has kept efforts to strengthen the preservation of its farming culture and heritage since 2013. Then in September 2017, Jiangsu issued specific measures for the protection of traditional villages, the first in China to adopt such a legal approach.
The province has also helped agricultural heritage to move up the value chain through integrated development of agriculture and tourism and branding efforts. For example, the annual cole flowers festival in Xinghua promoted Duotian, boosted local tourism, and created new business opportunities.
Despite the progress, the province also faces challenges of preserving the agricultural heritage amid the accelerated industrialization and urbanization and migration of rural people to towns and cities.
Meng said that, amid efforts to improve the living environment in rural areas, it is necessary to recognize and present the hidden cultural values of farming practices in scientific ways.