Project assists in bringing produce to Xizang’s rural areas

Wu Wa used to rarely see green vegetables on the dinner table and apples were a rare pleasure, but now days, fresh fruits and vegetables are a frequent sight in the isolated pastoral areas of Shanza county in the Xizang autonomous region of Southwest China. The county, which covers an area of more than 25,000 square kilometers and has an average elevation of 4,700 meters, is tucked away in the center of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Of Shanza’s 23,000 inhabitants, around 90% work in animal husbandry. The area’s fruit and vegetable farming faced several difficulties due to the hard combination of a cold temperature, bare ground, and high altitude.


The regional department of commerce in Shanza started a trial program for the distribution of fruits and vegetables in 2019. A fresh produce storage facility was constructed, sixteen produce stands were put up throughout the county, and transport vehicles and refrigeration equipment were bought with an investment of nearly 3 million yuan ($422,000). Fresh produce and necessities were packaged and shipped to the county as part of the project from the almost 600-kilometer-distance regional capital Lhasa, and occasionally even from Xining, the capital of the nearby province of Qinghai. After that, the products were given to village and town vendors.


The hard mix of a high altitude, a frigid climate, and bare ground made it difficult to cultivate fruits and vegetables in the area, forcing the residents to eat mostly meat and dairy products. “We can now enjoy fresh items such as dragon fruit, kiwi fruit and cherries, and we can always have vegetables with our meals,” Wu stated.


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