Agroforestry project continues despite the coronavirus in Liming, China

Farmers planting trees on their farmland © Pur Projet

Liming Village, China, April 2020

Among the 2,900 trees to be planted in Liming, about 1,820 trees (economic tree species) have been planted by farmers despite the Covid-19 epidemic. The species planted include local varieties such as Sichuan pepper, quince, plum and peach. The remaining 1,080 seedlings will be planted as soon as the first rains begin so that their growth is not threatened by drought.

From January to mid-March, the planting site in the Liming village was blocked due to the Covid-19 epidemic, giving the local team little time to prepare and organise for the 2020 plantation. Luckily, the slowdown of the epidemic in the province allowed an easing of restrictions in mid-March. Measures were quickly taken to organise the distribution of seedlings to farmers in the village before the start of the planting campaign.

Seedlings being distributed to farmers in Liming village © Pur Projet

The original schedule was met and 1820 economy trees were planted between April and May 2020.
The remaining 1080 seedlings are all environmental trees (e.g. Pinus armandii and Torreya yunnanensis) that will be planted during the rainy season between June and September by 40 local farmers.

Together, almost all farmers’ households will benefit from the project, 60% of which are women involved in agricultural activities and tree management. In addition to income diversification, farmers have been able to learn skills related to tree care and agroforestry.

Remaining seedlings to be planted during the first rains © Pur Projet

Drought is posing a threat to the project during this time of the year and could affect the survival of the planted seedlings. Forest fires in Yunnan and other provinces caused by dry weather and strong winds made headlines. On March 29, the forest in Jiuhe Township, Yulong County, burned and damaged more than 40 ha of land.

As water has been a continuing challenge faced by the farmers in Liming village, our planting partner Pur Projet is building water tubes connecting the water source on the top of the mountains (more than 3 km away from the village) to the village. The local community is relying on this water source as the drinking water for themselves and their cattle, as well as for irrigation.

Water pipes connecting the water source to the Liming village © Pur Projet

In addition to tree planting, a valuable Chinese medicinal plant called Paris polyphilla will be planted in July 2020. Farmers have asked for help to grow this particular species, which has a higher economic value, but whose planting costs are often too high for most farmers. The seedlings delivered to the farmers come from the nursery of the Meile cooperative, as well as from other nurseries 40 minutes from the village of Liming.

Despite difficulties encountered and risks associated with Covid-19, activities in the field appear to be on track. The local team remains vigilant and ready to adapt activities as the situation evolves.

Paris polyphilla seedling growing in Liming cooperative nursery © Pur Projet

In October/November, farmers will be trained in agroforestry, tree ecology and fruit tree management.

In 2021, technical monitoring of plantations will be carried out to measure the rate of tree recovery, advice will be given to producers and a replanting will be organized if necessary.

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