In Xinjiang, cotton grower finds success
A loader moves seed cotton at a cotton ginning mill in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in April. CAI ZENGLE/FOR CHINA DAILY
Cotton growers from Shaya county in Aksu prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, said they countered negative Western narratives of Xinjiang's cotton cultivation, such as "forced labor" at a new conference on Friday, citing their personal experiences.
Aksu prefecture is one of the largest cotton-producing areas in Xinjiang, with 500,000 hectares of cotton fields. The prefecture's cotton output accounts for more than 90 percent of China's total, and the mechanization rate is above 90 percent.
Emin Anayit's family of five in Shaya county can earn 2.5 million yuan ($388,500) growing cotton on 66.67 hectares, along with raising 500 sheep and 300 cattle.
Emin, 46, said he is a beneficiary of mechanization.
"In the past I had to hunt around every year for part-time pickers during the harvest season," he said.
But the family now has five tractors, two sowing machines, two picking machines and drones that can fertilize fields or spray to prevent pests and disease.
"The machines help improve the efficiency of cotton cultivation and bring great convenience. I can also hire out these machines to other cotton growers, which generates considerable income every year for my family," he said.
He added that he has bought a car and a house in the downtown area of Shaya county, and he travels with family members to other places in China in their spare time. This has widened their horizons, he said.
"It is an undeniable fact that cotton cultivation brings us a better life."
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