How can a place that is “larger in area than the province, smaller in population than the county” and extremely short of water promote high-quality development? The National Economic Broadcasting “High-Quality Development in China” interview team recently visited the Alxa League in Inner Mongolia to explore the answer to this question through discussions and visits.
The interview team held discussions with relevant persons in charge of the Alxa League
Water-scarce “Colorful Land”
Alxa is located in the westernmost part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, bordering Mongolia in the north, with a border line of 735 kilometers. The alliance has a total area of 270,000 square kilometers and a total population of less than 270,000. It has the largest area and the smallest population among the 12 alliance cities in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. It is also a place nationwide with “larger area than provinces and smaller population than counties” level administrative district.
Alashan means “colorful place” in Mongolian. It is a collection of geological wonders such as deserts, Gobis, grasslands, forests, lakes, and mountains. The world’s only desert-themed global geopark, the Ejina Populus euphratica forest, one of the world’s three largest Populus euphratica forests, and the Dongfeng Space City (Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center), one of the world’s three largest manned space centers, are all located here.
Scenery of Alxa League
However, water is in short supply in this vast and magical place. Preliminary estimates show that by 2025, the Alxa Alliance’s water shortage will reach 220 million cubic meters. Among them, the domestic water shortage is 24 million cubic meters, the ecological water shortage is 76 million cubic meters, the agricultural water shortage is 043 million cubic meters, and the industrial water shortage is 78 million cubic meters.
“Eating sand by relying on sand” and walking the “most difficult road”
Zhang Baocheng, member of the Alxa League Committee of the Communist Party of China and director of the Propaganda Department, lamented that in an area like Alxa, which is extremely short of water and where most of the land area is Gobi and desert, it is necessary to save water, control water, conserve ecology, use sand to control desertification, and “rely on The development path of “eating sand and eating sand” is almost the only option, but it is also the most difficult road to follow.
Zhang Baocheng, member of the Alxa League Committee of the Communist Party of China and director of the Propaganda Department, was interviewed
In the face of difficulties, how to take this “most difficult road”? Should we just talk but not do “Tai Chi” or should we face the difficulties and find a solution? Zhang Baocheng said: “Since the launch of the theme education practice activities, we have put these issues on the table of party members and cadres across the league, and conducted major discussions based on the requirements of the central and autonomous region party committees. The whole league has unified their thinking and style of work to overcome difficulties and do practical things. , a new situation finally emerged. ‘Colorful’ is no longer just a Chinese translation of the Mongolian Alxa. The high-quality development of economic, social and cultural undertakings across the alliance has made this a truly colorful place. .”
Solve the “water dilemma” and leap to a new level of high-quality development
There are always more solutions than difficulties. On December 8, 2023, the Alxa League Water Rights Trading Hall was officially launched. It relies on the national water rights trading system to realize various forms of market-based transactions of water rights such as regional water rights, water abstraction rights, and irrigation water users’ water rights, and improves the level of optimal allocation of water resources and conservation, intensive and safe utilization, marking the acceleration of the Alxa League Solve the problem of “water poverty” and promote high-quality development to a new level.
Reporters from the interview team conducted in-depth interviews with local companies
Tang Wanju, general manager of Inner Mongolia Taixing Taifeng Chemical Company, said: “Our company is a large water user. We bought 1 million cubic meters of water rights in 2018. However, we have continued to carry out technological innovation in recent years and now basically achieve zero discharge of recycled water. Therefore, On the contrary, we have a surplus of water. After the Alxa water rights trading system was launched, we sold 600,000 cubic meters of water rights and leased 100,000 cubic meters of water rights through the system.” Zhang Ke, general manager of Inner Mongolia Ziguang Chemical Co., Ltd. said: “The issue of water has always been a problem that has hindered the development of enterprises. After the water rights trading system was launched, we immediately purchased 200,000 cubic meters of water rights to ensure our production next year. This really solved our big problem.”
Focusing on solving the water bottleneck problem that affects and restricts high-quality development, Alxa League continues to promote the conservation and intensive use of water resources across the league and promote the construction of a water-saving society. Focusing on the safety of drinking water that is of concern to the masses, water supply guarantee projects were implemented according to local conditions. The centralized water supply rate and tap water penetration rate in agricultural and pastoral areas across the league reached 91.83%. Herdsman Bao Lige said: “We are close to the China-Mongolia border. The water quality of this land is poor. In the past, water had to be hauled from dozens of kilometers away, and we had to make trips every three to five, which was very troublesome. Now it’s better. We have installed tap water equipment. You can use purified tap water every day by turning on the tap.”
Reduce expenditures and increase revenue at the same time. In order to solve water difficulties, Alxa League has also innovatively promoted inter-provincial regional water rights trading cooperation, established a cooperation mechanism with Aba Prefecture of Sichuan Province, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the China Water Rights Exchange, and promoted the implementation of the “Alxa League South-to-North Water Diversion Western Route Project” Refined resource allocation plan and supporting project planning.
Liu De, deputy leader of Alxa League, was interviewed
With the breakthrough in alleviating water problems, various tasks have been rapidly advanced, and people’s livelihood and well-being have been greatly improved. Liu De, deputy leader of the Alxa League, said: “We adhere to a problem-oriented approach to carry out in-depth investigations and research, strive to break through a number of development bottlenecks, promote a number of key projects, solve a number of outstanding problems, and drive overall improvement through key tackles. Focus on high-quality development By changing the work style and building up the image, we will make every effort to adjust the structure, strengthen industries, seize projects, expand investment, optimize the environment, lay a solid foundation, enrich people’s livelihood and increase welfare, and the development of various economic, social, cultural and other undertakings in the alliance will present a new situation.”
Developing the ecological sand industry not only increases income and wealth but also improves the environment
Continuously solving the problem of water shortages has a very significant effect in promoting the economic development of Alxa League. The reporter learned at the Ecological Sand Industry Demonstration Zone in Ulanbuhe, Alxa League, that the unique sandy soil and climate characteristics enable the cultivation of high-quality wine grapes here. After the water problem was alleviated, the 10,000-acre grape planting base of Inner Mongolia Jinshayuan Ecological Group Co., Ltd. in the demonstration area combined desert ecological management and sand industry. Currently, more than 80,000 acres of desert have been leveled and more than 10,000 acres of high-quality wine grapes have been planted. Xie Mingfu, a picker, said: “This used to be a deserted beach with extremely strong winds and sand. Now grapes are planted to make wine. The ecological environment has been significantly improved, and it has also brought opportunities for us people to make money.”
Liu Decui, Deputy Chairman of Alxa League, was interviewed
Liu Decui, deputy director of the Alxa League, said: “We rely on national key ecological construction projects such as the ‘Three North Shelter Forest’ to create sand industries such as Haloxylon ammodendron-Cistanche deserticola, White Thorn-Cynomorum, Allium sativa, grapes, flower sticks, and Amaranthus sorbifolia. .Currently, 2.88 million acres of artificial Haloxylon ammodendron forest have been constructed around Bayanhot in Alxa Left Banner, in Zongbieli Town Manglai Gacha, Bayannuorigongsumuhaitu Gacha, and Jilantai Town. There are 4 Cistanche deserticola industrial bases, with a total of 541,800 acres of artificial inoculation of Cistanche deserticola and 200,000 acres of Cynomorium Cynomorium inoculated. Through the ‘enterprise + base + scientific research + farmers and herdsmen’ planting business model, more than 2,000 households in 11 Sumu towns, 1 More than 10,000 farmers and herdsmen operate the forest and sand industry, with an annual per capita income increase of more than 10,000 yuan.”
Ma Zhongqiang, a herdsman from Bayannuo Rigong Sumu Suhaitu Gacha in Alxa Left Banner, said: “Our Alxa cistanche is called ‘desert ginseng’ and can be harvested in two seasons a year. The quality harvested in winter is the best. Good, and the price is also the best. Planting Haloxylon ammodendron grafted with Cistanche deserticola and developing the characteristic sand industry is a win-win way to get rich while improving the ecological environment.”
The reporter interviewed at a local “company + farmer” amaranth processing enterprise
Ma Zhongqiang, 49 years old, is a local herdsman. His family used to live on more than 100 goats, but the money they earned throughout the year was not enough to buy forage. Terrified, he watched his neighbors living a good life by planting Haloxylon ammodendron and grafting Cistanche deserticola. He also put down his sheep whip and started a special ecological industry. He planted Haloxylon ammodendron on the 16,000 acres of Gobi under contract, which not only made people The pockets are getting bigger and bigger, and the ecological environment of the surrounding pastures is getting better year by year. He told reporters: “Now my family has planted Haloxylon ammodendron on more than 10,000 acres, and has inoculated more than 3,000 acres of Cistanche deserticola. We can produce an average of 13 tons of fresh Cistanche deserticola every year. Our income from harvesting Cistanche deserticola alone is 400,000 yuan a year.”
“Colorful Land” Alxa
In recent years, Alxa League has insisted on preventing and controlling desertification in parallel with increasing income and wealth, giving full play to the promotion role of reverse pull, vigorously promoting ecological industrialization and industrial ecology, and improving the “government guidance, enterprise driving, base radiation, and participation of farmers and herdsmen” ” connection mechanism, cultivate and form green ecological industries such as sustainable agriculture and animal husbandry, desert tourism, and clean energy, and find a unique path of benefiting from “controlling desertification”, developing development by “using sand”, and getting rich by “relying on sand”. The local area also actively leads farmers and herdsmen to optimize modern agriculture and animal husbandry around “local specialties”, strengthen the characteristic sand industry, and do a good job in leisure tourism, and continuously extend the “rich chain” of industrial revitalization; through “party branches + enterprises + collective economic cooperatives” + Farmers and Herdsmen” business model, cultivate and create well-known tourism brands such as Alxa Heroes Association and Golden Autumn Populus euphratica. Nearly a quarter of Gacha villages have increased their collective economic income.
Deep in the Tengger Desert, viewed from a high altitude, space capsule Mars camps, glass starry sky rooms, white tents and yurts are dotted around. Tourists can go sandbathing or ride camels to wander through deserts and grasslands. Such wonderful scenery comes from the unique initiative of the “Party Branch-led Tourism Cooperative” of Alxa League.
Herdsman Temujin told reporters: “In the past, our Gacha had a lot of desert and little pasture. If we wanted to dig up some sand and green onions, we couldn’t get money to sell them. People around us jokingly called our Gacha ‘Shaliwa’ because there was nothing but sand. Now. Now It’s different. I joined the tourism cooperative run by the party branch, and tourism has become the most important source of income for my family. This month alone, my family’s income from desert tourism is about more than 20,000 yuan.” A local cadre said that foreign tourists are very I like the “Five Lakes Crossing” route. As soon as the tour group arrives, just say hello in the WeChat group and everyone will gather together. You can get it for just a few hundred yuan a day.
Farmers and herdsmen have experience in developing tourism. The local area has also contracted a certain area of desert for each herdsman household. The past development method of purely relying on scenic spots has been changed to independent management of herdsmen tours, camping, etc., allowing farmers and herdsmen to Create your own tourism industry. The vast sand sea, which has been “flat sand for thousands of miles and uninhabited” since ancient times, has caught up with the rapid development of desert tourism industry clusters. Gacha, deep in the yellow sand, welcomes waves of tourists.
Camel Industry in “China Camel City”
Alxa is known as the “Chinese Camel City”. Alxa’s Bactrian camels are national geographical indications of agricultural products, and the camel industry is also one of the local specialty industries. The Alxa Bactrian camel, which is “full of treasures”, integrates various economic forms such as down production, meat production, milk production, and draft use. It has high economic value. A considerable number of herdsmen rely entirely on camel breeding for their livelihood. Camels are their important means of production and livelihood.
Bactrian camels in Alxa, “China’s Camel City”
“This year’s camel milk output and price are both higher than last year. It seems that I have chosen the right path to develop the camel milk industry!” said Ma Jun, head of Fengyuan Breeding and Breeding Professional Cooperative. Just on November 30, 2023, Alxa Right Banner successfully passed the standard review of the “Assessment Standards for the Hometown of Chinese Characteristic Industries” and was rated as the “Hometown of Camel Milk in China”. Ma Jun calculated an account for reporters. He found that he could earn up to 100,000 yuan a year from selling 25 camels, and more than 1 million yuan a year from selling milk from 80 camels.
In Alxa League, the population of Bactrian camels is nearly 150,000, and 28,000 Bactrian camels are produced annually. Alxa Right Banner is one of the areas with the largest number of Bactrian camels in the country, and is also the core area of Alxa Bactrian camels. The camel industry has become an important engine and bright business card for the development of Alxa Right Banner’s agriculture and animal husbandry. At present, with Alxa Right Banner as the center and Alxa Left Banner, Ejina Banner as support, Alxa League is making every effort to build the largest camel industry model area in the country and even the world.
The National Economic Broadcasting “High-Quality Development Looks at China” interview team visited Inner Mongolia Alxa League