Linked with The Guizhou University, China.
She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She is the vice dean and researcher of the Guizhou Provincial Agricultural Science Institute, vice chairperson of the Guizhou Scientists Association, vice president of the Guizhou Agricultural Association, and an executive member of the Chinese Agricultural Association.
She says: “Seeing my farmer friends bidding poverty goodbye, and my scientific projects bringing them profits ? nothing could be more exhilarating than this”.
She says also ” … that nothing could bring me more happiness than seeing the peasants become wealthy and her projects bringing them benefits”.
Guilian Li – China
She works for the Guizhou Agricultural Science Institute, Guizhou University.
Li Guilian graduated from the Department of Gardening, Agricultural University, Guizhou Province in 1964, specializing in fruit and vegetables. Li Guilan was born in Huayin City of Shanxi Province in 1942.
She has been engaged in researching and promoting vegetable-growing technoloies for 40 years. Farmers in over 20 counties and cities of the province now grow vegetables all year round, resulting in better incomes, the development of agricultural plastic sheeting, chemical fertilizer, pesticide, vegetable seeds, restaurants, hotels and transportation.
She realizes that agricultural scientific research should integrate with agricultural production in order to realize its value. In 1979, China was still in its early stage of reform and opening up, and grain was of utmost importance. Luodian County, situated in a very remote and under-developed mountainous area, was one of the ‘national poor counties’. The minority people constituted 64 per cent of the population, which had many illiterates and semi-illiterates, especially women, who were often in an inferior position. There were no toilets for people, no fences or pens for livestock; the cattle and sheep grazed all spread out on the mountain slopes. The hygiene was poor and the people did not plant crops; some vegetables were grown, chiefly hot pepper and soya beans, and a few to sell in the market. Rice was planted only once a year. The inferior economic situation meant a low income for the peasants.
However, Li noticed that the low altitude and mild climate in the spring and winter created a kind of ‘natural glasshouse’ and gave the area a natural advantage and great potential. She began to experiment, demonstrate and promote technologies for growing fruits and vegetables out of season, and after systematic analysis, came up with the out-of-season early-maturing technologies for growing vegetables. Later these technologies were promoted across 20 counties and cities in Guizhou province. She would walk from village to village in the mountains, teaching peasants the skills to grow vegetables. She also advised them to change their agricultural system. In the past, rice was only planted for a season each year, but now the land is used to plant early-maturing vegetables for a season and rice for another. That means two harvests each year, with an extra income coming from the vegetables. Also with the use of fertilizer in growing vegetables, the land became more fertile and this increased the yield of the paddy fields. Furthermore, since there was a demand for fertilizer in vegetable growing, families started to build toilets for themselves and fences for livestock. As a result, the unsanitary conditions improved while more organic fertilizers were produced for high-yield vegetable growing.
More and more women in the villages now go to the city to learn scientific technology. All these developments have created a fine and sustainable cycle for agriculture. Li has been honored as ‘Goddess of Wealth’ by the local peasants. 120 thousand peasants in Luodian County have become less poor, and over 20 thousand people of the whole Guizhou Province have become wealthy. There are still many peasants trying to increase their incomes by growing autumn out-of-season vegetables. Women peasants have become more self-confident by growing vegetables, and their ability and social position have both improved through the marketing of their products. On the consumption side, there is a greater supply of vegetables to the city and the mines during spring and autumn, and the variety of vegetables is also increasing. Later when the out of season vegetables technologies are implemented in other counties like Zhenning, Guanling, Bijie and Lingli, the vegetables can meet the needs of many provinces and cities all over China.
Now Li is approaching 60 years of age. But, as before, she gives up all her holidays and frequently lives in the villages of Dafang, Weining and Longli, offering trainings and imparting cultivation technologies to the peasants in the field. Because of her long dedication to work in the villages, she is a friend and teacher to them all. In 1987, when she was was in hospital because of a car accident, 4 peasants from Luodian visited her in hospital, bringing 4 children with them. That became a special day in her life. Li always says that nothing could bring her more happiness than seeing the peasants become wealthy and her projects bringing them benefits.
Appreciating her contributions to the economic development of the area, the Anshun government awarded her 20 thousand yuan in 1995. But she donated it to the primary school where she had studied, the Anshun No. 8 Primary School. In 1996, she donated the 5 thousand yuan that Luodian government awarded her, to the ‘Hope Project’ there, and the subsidies that she got each year were also given to primary schools in the villages.
Overall, Li Guilian has dedicated compassionately her whole life to the peasants, to agriculture, and to the villages, with courage and creativity, and has made great achievements despite the difficulties. (1000PeaceWomen).
Brief Introduction to Guizhou University;
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