The agricultural entrepreneur spends about 669 million FCFA each year to assist farmers in Lindzhou, Henan Province.
Qiao Shuling, 57, is today a successful agricultural entrepreneur thanks to the reform and opening up policy of the Communist Party of China launched in 1978. The Chief Executive Officer of the 500 million RMB (41.1 billion FCFA) worth Zhongqiao Sannong Company has not however forgotten his roots as a poor farmer a few decades ago. Qiao was two years ago designated heir of the Red Flag Canal Spirit (a reference to attributes of courage, hard work, self-reliance and solidarity) by Yang Gui, the 90-year-old designer of the 1,500-km hand-dug Red Flag Canal in Lindzhou, China’s Henan Province.
The masterpiece was completed in 1970 after 10 years of toilsome digging and chiselling by 100,000 locals on steep, rocky Mount Taihang cliffs and slopes to channel water from River Zhang to Lindzhou. Thereby ending hundreds of years of recurrent droughts and famines in the arid town. “I have been offering free rice, cotton, wheat, millet and maize seeds, seedlings and fertilizers to Lindzhou farmers since two years. At the end of the farming season, I buy their produce at higher-than-market prices in order to get them out of poverty,” Qiao told Cameroon Tribune on November 28, 2017 in Lindzhou.
Qiao Shuling assists some 10,000 families a year in three villages, spending about 7 million RMB (about 586 million FCFA). Overall, the heir of the Red Flag Canal Spirit spends at least 8 million RMB (about 669 million FCFA) on local charity each year. Qiao’s rice, millet, wheat and cotton business directly employs 50 people in Lindzhou, but some 300 farmers supply him with produce. “Farmers also make money by renting out some of their land to us and hiring out their spare homes to serve as granaries for our produce. We always ensure that farmers’ incomes are not negatively affected by price fluctuations,” the Senior High School leaver explained.
“The construction of the Red Flag Canal shows that there is no dream too big for any people to achieve if only they are determined,” Qiao underscored. “My business success is appraised in terms of the number of people I assist out of poverty,” the philanthropist added. Meanwhile, Qiao Shuling’s humanitarian development work has been acknowledged at all levels of government in Lindzhou and Henan Province.