Linyi's agricultural park transforms rural lives

The Lanling National Agricultural Park, located in Daicun village in Lanling county, Linyi city, east China's Shandong province, is the first national-level agricultural park in China. As a combination of modern agriculture and tourism, as well as cultural and agricultural history, the park presents a beautiful, vivid picture of Lanling as "the hometown of vegetables in China".

Today, Daicun is peaceful, clean and tidy, and residents enjoy happy lives. As hard as it is to imagine, just 20 years ago, things looked totally different.

The village set aside agricultural land for a project entitled "five gardens, one belt". This was to be comprised of a flower garden, a fruit garden, a vegetable garden, a fine seed demonstration garden, an agricultural sightseeing garden and a national fitness belt.

The projects began taking shape in 2002. At the time, the combination of agriculture and tourism was somewhat avant-garde, and many people took a wait-and-see attitude to the projects.

According to the village's rules, regardless of the investment and management model followed-be it a collective joint-stock system, a joint-stock cooperative system or mixed ownership-the collective's share of a project should be at least 50 percent to ensure that it can have a say.

In 2007, the Daicun collective signed land transfer agreements with 2,200 farmers in five neighboring villages for more than 467 hectares of land and hired experts from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences to design a high standard agricultural demonstration park that covers nearly 700 hectares.

The decision proved farsighted. Five years later, rural and agricultural tourism began to developing in earnest. Shandong started to actively promote development of agricultural parks, a concept seemingly tailor-made for Daicun.

That same year, the Lanling National Agricultural Park, which was based on the "five gardens, one belt" idea, was approved as the country's first national agricultural park.

Since then, the influx of tourists has brought in a great deal of revenue. Not only have the village's infrastructure and facilities been modernized, but the public services provided by the collective have also been greatly improved.

The park brings jobs, pensions and education to the villagers. Every resident has work, and every family earns a share of the bonus income. Today in Daicun, the young are educated, employed and have access to medical treatment, while the elderly and the vulnerable receive support and are able to lead pleasant lives.