Farmers in Xinben, an impoverished village in central China’s Hunan Province, are being offered free night school classes as authorities bid to modernize local agriculture and retrain people as managers of more profitable tobacco-producing enterprises.
As part of a nationwide campaign of poverty alleviation, a lot of Xinben’s farmland has been conglomerated, and dozens of farmers have taken up positions as managers of these much larger, more sophisticated plots. In this critical period for planting tobacco, they have to study.
Xu Xunxi, a technician from Chenzhou Cigarette Factory, comes to Xinben once a month to give tobacco planting instructions, including methods to protect against insects and diseases, ways to distinguish the grades of the tobacco leaves and the skills to improve production. The classes always start at night since the managers are really busy in the daytime.