Agroforestry project continues despite the coronavirus in Liming, China

Farmers planting trees on their farmland © Pur Projet

Liming Village, China, April 2020

Among the 2,600 trees to be planted in Liming, about 1,800 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 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

Despite the difficulties, the initial schedule was met and the 2020 planting campaign successfully completed. Uncertainties related to Covid-19 still remain, and the prohibition of clustering and the containment requirement, still in place in some neighbouring villages, could delay training and monitoring activities.

The remaining seedlings are all environmental trees (e.g. Pinus armandii) and are currently stored in the local partner’s garden, who is taking care of them, while waiting for the first rains.

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. Since last week, forest fire in Yunnan and other provinces has hit the topline on the news – dry weather and strong wind is one of the reasons. On March 29th , the forest in Jiuhe township, Yulong county, was on fire and damaged over 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

Besides tree planting, Rhizoma paridis yunanensis, a valuable Chinese medicinal plant, will be planted in July-August 2020. The medicinal plant will be cultivated in the shade of the trees. The seedlings are coming from the Meile cooperative nursery as well as from other nurseries 40 minutes away from the village of Liming.

Rhizoma paridis yunanensis seedling growing in Liming cooperative nursery © Pur Projet

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.

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