Ningxia Anti-desertification and Livelihood Improvement

The Challenge

34.6% of China’s area is prone to desertification.  Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is epitome of it surrounded by deserts namely Tenggeli, Wulanbu and Maowusu in its west, north and east, respectively.     Desertification has devoured 55.8%, or 2.89 million hectares of Ningxia’s total terrain, with additional 1.21 million hectares grassland and 132,000 hectares farmland are under the threat of desertification. The livelihood of inhabitant in 13 cities, 40 townships and 600 villages has been severely affected and the region’s vulnerable natural environment is also at stake.  Ningxia is one of the major sources of sandstorms which devastated northern China.  

80% of the poverty counties in China are located in the areas with fragile ecosystem, accommodating 81% of the poverty people in China.   One of the biggest challenges for poverty reduction in this area is to break the vicious circle of land degradation/poverty downward spiral, in which the poor are both agents and victims in the process.    

The Response

The project is aimed to assist the efforts of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Regional Government to better manage the sand control initiatives and improve the livelihood of the selected dryland and desert affected regions of Ningxia.  Specific emphases will be given to initiatives which strike the harmony of human activities and environment sustainability. This will be done through the combination of eco-system regeneration, human capacity building and a green entrepreneurship.


With concerted efforts of project partners, the project is on a right track to achieve its objectives.  

Study on Sustainable Use of the Old Gravel-mulched Water Melon Land and relevant pilot of 400 mu demonstrated feasible sustainable use pattern for more than 1 million mu gravel-mulched water melon land in Ningxia, which is a very good case of green production in arid area.    

In cooperation with research institutes of national and local level, some new model of sand control have been explored including selection of resilience species, integrated management of desertified land and sustainable agricultural development in desertified area.  Caragana intermedia, Tops, Scoparium, Hedysanm, Salix, Tamarisk, and other species are selected and relevant plantation skills are introduced to local farmers.  Some of the activities are quite successful and could provide good practices for other desertified areas with annual average rainfall below 300mm.  

The project strengthens development of farmers’ associations in Zhongwei and Yanchi to enhance market accession, technology extension and risk mitigation.  Village Mutual Financial Cooperative as a new type financial initiative is also fostered in the project area to promote financial inclusion for the poor.

Who finances it?

Donor Amount
US$ 1,500,000
Government US$ 9,000,000

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