As described Ningxia is a sparsely populated Region where most of the population can be found in the fertile Northern Plain of the Yellow River.
The region is predominantly rural and historically most of the population were farmers engaged in pasturing and farming the land.
The main life-stock animal were sheep, a special kind descended from the argali sheep of eastern Mongolia which produce especially high quality soft wool. Ningxia is famous throughout the Nation as the origin of most 'Halal' Meat (Meat prepared according to Islamic prescriptions), mostly mutton or lamb.
The Islamic Hui do not eat or raise pigs, however the local Manchu Minority traditionally specialize in breeding and raising pigs.
Traditionally incomes and education levels are low, and even today Ningxia is among
New Industries have arrived in Ningxia after the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China in 1949 AD. First and Foremost agricultural development was boosted with enhanced methods and a large scale expansion of irrigated lands within the Province along the Yellow River. In 1958 AD the opening of the Baotou-Lanzhou Railway Line finally opened a direct long-distance transportation connection with this far western region, leading to a variety of new economic developments. Henceforth: the abundant agricultural produce of the Autonomous Region could be exported to the hungry mouths of China's Main Population centres and Ningxia's raw materials were connected to two main industrial Cities, Baotou to the North-East in Inner-Mongolia and Lanzhou, to the South-West in Gansu Province.
Mineral wealths of the Province could be begin to be exploited.
Mineral resources of Ningxia consist mainly of coal reserves (lignite, bituminous coal and cooking coal), with four main coal fields dispersed throughout the region: in the north near the Inner Mongolian border, around Xiangshan in the west-central area, near Lingwu in east-central Ningxia, and around Guyuan in the far south.
Historically Coal was mined on a small scale for millenia however large scale explorations have only become viable since the construction of the Baotou-Lanzhou railroad. Today Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region is of the major bases of coal mining and thermal power generation in northern China. The main locations of industry are Yinchuan, Qingtongxia（青銅峽）, Shizuishan and Wuzhong cities also known as the Helan Mountain Industrial Zone （賀蘭山工業區）.
Satellite Image of Central and Southern China clearly showing the 'Yellow Cloud'-phenomenon. Industrial pollutants mix with dust particles shrouding out large swaths of the Nation. In the North all Territories East of Ningxia are emersed in a yellowish mist channeling between mountains.
Thus, the autonomous region has experienced considerable economic development, initially carried by agricultural expansion as well as construction of roads and railway connections, and since led by exploitation of its mineral resources, mainly coal.
Since the year 2005 AD development programs for the under-developed West have added heavy industries, mining and manufacturing and increased Tourism, however agriculture and pasturing remain central to the (rural) economy.
Today Ningxia Autonomous Region has more than 5 large and medium-sized power plants providing Electricity to even the most remote village. These include first and foremost hydroelectric power station of Qingtong Gorge (Xintongxia)（青銅峽）on the Yellow River and a further three thermal (coal fired) power plants. A 6Th Coal Fired electricity plant, the Daba Power Plant（大霸電廠）with designed generation capacity of 2 million kWh is under construction. More power plants are under construction near Shapotou（沙坡頭）and Daliushu（大柳樹）. The Shabotou power plant is Nationally featured as one of the ten key projects in the current Five-Year Plan to include the poor internal provinces in the economic prosperity of the Coastal Provinces.
A large base for the production of energy and chemicals (utilizing coal) has been under development around Yinchuan and in eastern Ningxia (Ningdong) since the year 2000 AD century in an attempt to feed a booming economy with much needed energy and raw materials. There also are reserves of petroleum, natural gas, gypsum (Plaster), quartz sandstone, barite, silex (silica), and limestone found within the territory.
Ningxia: All is well, that Ends well ?
Time agricultural output in all regions were maximized to feed the booming population. As is often the case, economic growth has come at a cost to the environment.
Grounds water levels throughout the region have dropped dramatically, damming of the yellow river for agricultural use and the production of hydro-electric energy have reduced the flow of the River and increased deposit of silt. Water in Ningxia is increasingly brackish and often polluted with fertilizers and industrial wastes.
Although modernization measures have increased water-efficiency in agriculture and reduced the earlier local reliance on chemical fertilizers in Ningxia which led to polluted ground and river waters. The use of fertilizers in Ningxia is now well below the national average, Ningxia's water-supply for the future is far from ensured. Currently more programs are in operation to collect the sparse rainwaters and store them in underground tanks.
The proudly announced "Five Treasures of Ningxia" are the nationally famous special agricultural products that come in five colours. These include the fruit of Chinese wolfberry which is colored red, the licorice root that is colored yellow, the inkstone which stands for the color blue, the white of Tan-sheepskin and the flagelliform nostoc with its color pitch black.
Especially the Chinese Wolfberry of Ningxia has been hailed Nationally and Internationally as a natural medicine against a wide variety of ailments. Its high content of anti-oxidants and vitamins is credited with being the essential cause of the longevity of the inhabitants of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region who regularly reach over 100 years of age.
Other traditional agricultural produce are similar to other western Chinese desert destinations; Sweet Melons and Water Melons, apricots, grapes and a variety other fruits.
The Central Government is however not only planning on using Coal to create the needed energy for its fast developing economy. To reduce the already drastic effects on local and world environment, China is rapidly adopting so called 'Green' Methods of energy generation. To supply all local households plus others with much needed electricity the Province is currently seeing the construction of the Ningxia Helan Shan wind-farm project which is being developed with international support from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK). The Ningxia Helan Shan wind-farm will make use of the High Desert winds that are notorious for whipping into the yellow dust storms that plague the nation. It is an un-inhabited and irregularly visited zone of the Desert that is ideal for such a project.
It is only one of may currently under development. More such projects, among which the largest (planned) wind-farm in the World can be found inside the Hexi Corridor, more to the west along the track of the ancient Silk Road. Wind-Farms have been built are under construction in many more regions of China, including Tibet (Autonomous Region).
You Tube Clip: Famous Ningxia 'Halal' Meat.
the least developed provinces of the Nation.
The irrigated lands of the Yellow River Plain of North Ningxia produce abundant wheat and good-quality rice. In fact, the quality of the rice was so good, that it is historically famous: Due to its exceptionaly high quality, Ningxia Pearl Rice was an article of tributes to the imperial family in the Qing Dynasty (1644 AD - 1911 AD).
Surprisingly though, today the main bulk agricultural product are sugar beets. Ningxia's farmers further grow millet, potatoes, corn, sorghum, millet, rapeseed, soybeans, flax and hemp.
In the 1950's and 1960's an intricate system of new irrigation canals has improved agricultural yields in the region many fold. As was the demand of the Central State at the