Two plants help alleviate poverty, battle desertification in Xinjiang

Farmers are enthusiastic about planting saxaul and cistanche in Shanshan County to battle desertification and alleviate poverty.

Saxaul is a kind of drought-resistant shrub that plays an important role in the establishment of shelter belts and the fixation of sand dunes. Cistanche is a parasitic plant that connects to the conductive system of a host, extracting water and nutrients from the roots of the host plant. As both favor arid climates, cistanche and saxaul have become a perfect combination for Xinjiang farmers.

In Shanshan County, 69 households living near the local Kumtag Desert have been using such a combination to battle desertification while alleviating poverty. Farmers could get a subsidy of about 1,500 yuan (211 U.S. dollars) for every mu of saxaul they plant. Now, the cistanche planted alone could bring in an additional 2,000 yuan (281 U.S. dollars) per mu, thus significantly bolstering people's enthusiasm in the plantation.

(Cover image a screenshot from the video)

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at