Having devoted most of his time to helping lift folks out of poverty by teaching them to plant red date trees, Wu Zisheng has gained an affectionate nickname from people in his village: "Red Date King of Northern Shaanxi".
Born and raised in a small village of Jiaxian county in Shaanxi province's Yulin city, where the soil is suitable for planting red date trees, Wu started teaching people how to plant the trees when he became an official of the village at the age of 18.
Now the director of Jiaxian's red date industry office, which has 12 officials handling affairs related to the production and sale of red dates, Wu often trains farmers in and outside the village on how to grow the trees in a scientific way.
Under Wu's leadership, more than 100 hectares of his village's land has been planted with red date trees, bringing fame to the village as many villagers have seen their income rise.
However, the outcome was not easily achieved. Red date trees are vulnerable to pests and too much rain in autumn, which can result in a severe reduction in output.
To solve the problem, Wu spent many hours reading books, asking experts for advice and conducting experiments on his own 2.7 hectares of land. He finally came up with a best practice, with the trees on his land yielding more and higher-quality red dates than those of others in the village.
He shared his experiences with the villagers. After fighting off a pest disaster in 2013 and bad weather in 2014. The average output of red dates per hectare reached 7,500 kilograms in 2014. Meanwhile, the proportion of high-quality red dates increased from 30 percent to 70 percent and their value tripled.