Top tech program creates “cash goat” for villagers, by Hai Mingwei, Zhao Yanan
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
A farmer in a secluded mountainous village in Sichuan Province, southwest China, Chen Wansheng had never thought or dreamed he could have anything to do with a top technological development program of the country.
It was the yellow goat, an animal he had raised for over four decades, that related the farmer in the poor Yuquan village of Nanjiang county to the 863 Program, China’s first high-tech research and development program launched in March 1986.
Researchers dispatched by the Ministry of Agriculture found in 1998 that the yellow goat with super quality mutton, which is native to Nanjiang, is of great value for breeding promotion. They then started a research on selective breeding of the livestock.
Their research was included into the 863 Program in 2002, and in 2003, researchers bred a new-variety goat with high fertility.
But Chen said he was not sure what the improved breed would bring to him when he got three of them from agro technicians that year.
Miracle, at least to Chen and his fellow villagers, happened a year later, when the three goats gave birth to nine lambs. A female yellow goat used to give birth of two lambs at most in a delivery, but one of Chen’s gave birth to four, which local folks would think entirely impossible in the past.
That year, Chen earned 900 yuan (about 110 US dollars) more than what he could earn from raising goats in the past.
Though raising goats is an inherited profession for locals, they had never taken it as a major way for money-earning, but only a substitute for feeding family, because of the goats’ low fertility and vulnerability to plagues. A family raised at most four or five goats in the past.
Chen’s success, however, turned the animal a “cash goat” in the eyes of his fellow villagers. And the county government began to promote the improved breed.
Story found here.