Written by Xu YuRong and her husband, both customers of Zhouhe branch of ARDY
Xu YuRong and her family of 5 lived in Section 5, Shenxi Village, Zhouhe Town, Yilong County. Her family consisted of her uncle, her two children, her husband, and herself. Her husband worked outside as a migrant worker, and his family relied on farming to live. Their land was infertile and required large inputs. In addition, with high taxes and frequent natural disasters, no matter how much she effort Xu YuRong put into the land, the land only gave enough to feed their bellies and not enough to solve their financial difficulties.
In the beginning of 1998, Xu YuRong was wracking her brains to find a way when Zhouhe Branch of ARDY went to their small valley for outreach. The staff members said, “Using the land to grow grain is not enough. You must think of a method to use the land for multiple purposes, such as engage in cash crops or breeding.”
After listening to the announcement, Xu YuRong began to think. She immediately contacted her husband working outside and explained, “We do not earn enough money by growing grain every year. Why don’t we take some of the land to grow animal feed and raise some pigs?”
Her husband replied, “Where are we going to get the capital to buy pigs? Each pig costs at least 300-500 RMB. I am outside running around working; yet, I still have troubles eating three meals a day. Do not count the chickens before they hatch.” Her husband not only did not support her but also mocked her.
Xu YuRong’s stubbornness prevented her from listening to her husband. She put on a bold face and went to the Zhouhe Branch to take out a 1000 RMB loan to buy female pigs. However, she needed to be part of a loaning group in order to take out a loan. Xu tried many times to find a group but failed every time. Because she was a woman with a husband working outside, no one believed she could make timely repayments or wanted to be in the same group with her. Xu could only return home and cry bitterly.
Yet, Xu YuRong did not give up, “What was wrong with being a woman? I am able to accomplish things as well. Just you see!” She found out that her neighbor had established a center nearby and went to find the center’s director in a hopeful manner. After Xu explained her desires, the center granted her request and supported her.
March 1998, Xu YuRong took out a 1000 RM loan from Zhouhe Branch and used it to buy back two female pigs. Normally, she relied on frugal household spending and the small working income from her uncle to make her repayments. She herself also went to others to learn how to raise pigs and attended all of ARDY’s relevant trainings. Her hard work did not go in vain. By the second year, she independently raised and bred pigs to start a business. Xu managed to own a business with 20 pigs.
February 2003, her husband, Zhao JiQiang, saw how his wife slowly learned the entire set of techniques to raise pigs and how her income was higher than his. Xu was even designated by the Association and the Town Government as an expert. Zhao JiQiang decided to go back home and work with his wife to expand the business. This year (2009), under the care of the Association, the couple constructed a 350 square meter breeding ground with 12 pens.
March 2009, the couple extended the loan from the Association and bought another 3 pigs from Taihu. Xu YuRong went from nothing to 9 female pigs (3 pregnant ones) and 8 fat pigs. Besides breeding pigs, she was able to reach a scale of 60 piglets and an income of more than 12,000 RMB.
Now, her family has developed in perfect order with jobs clearly divided. Her uncle is to manage the land and grow food and animal feed. Xu is in charge of the pig farms and daily household chores. Furthermore, she has begun other businesses with the help from friends and family members. She has collaborated with the locals to own a wood plank factory, which is managed by her partner. Her husband Zhao JiQiang is in charge of a hotpot restaurant near Zhu De’s former residence in Manan Town.
Xu YuRong’s quick development has changed the views of many around her. Many of them have become jealous of her and all went to her for help. Xu YuRong did not reject them and took the initiative to train them without any charges. Under her influence, the village has increased the amount of pigs by more than 50 and constructed a new pig breeding ground.
Just like this, the couple, Xu YuRong and Zhao Ji Qiang, depended on their willpower, the Association, and the microfinance loans to walk out of poverty and walk towards wealth.
Right now, the couple is deciding to change their living conditions. They have chosen a plot of land and built the foundations for a new house. In a short time, there will soon be another small storied building in this small mountain village covered by the shade of the green trees.