Policies, technologies contribute big part to China’s spring farming

Photo taken on March 11 shows a bird's-eye view of a demonstration crayfish-rice field in Longwang Township, Xiangyang, central China's Hubei Province. (Photo by Yang Dong/People's Daily Online)

Seeds are being sowed on farmlands across China as the spring arrives. However, this year, different from usual, policies and technologies are playing a more vital role in increasing and stabilizing grain output.

China said in the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 that the country will keep strengthening the position of agriculture as the foundation of the economy, deepen supply side structural reform in the agricultural sector, and drive agricultural development with better quality, so as to advance rural vitalization.

According to the latest survey by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the sowing areas of both winter wheat and winter rapeseed recovered growth this year. The country planted a total of 335 mu (23.3 million hectares) of winter wheat, 3 million mu more than that from a year ago, and the sowing area of winter rapeseed reached 96 million mu, up 4 million mu year on year.

With a target to stabilize the output of staple grains and soybeans, and increase that of corns, China is continuously deepen the supply side structural reform of the agricultural sector.

Liu Changyuan is a capable farmer from Zhongping village, Ersheng Township, Banan District of southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality. The man has contracted 220 mu of land this spring.

“Paddy fields are planted with rice, while soybeans and coarse cereals are planted on dry land. This year I’ll plant more soybeans, as the grain brings more economic benefits,” he said.

Li Yufeng, president of an agricultural cooperative in Keshan County, northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province told People’s Daily that after expanding the growing area of soybeans, the cooperative gained a profit of 53.28 million yuan ($8.11 million) last year. Each member of the cooperative received 922 yuan per mu, Li said, adding that soybeans made a huge contribution to the remarkable performance.

This year, China will continue implementing the plan to rejuvenate soybean farming, striving to maintain the soybean acreage above 140 million mu. A total of over 10 million mu of corns will be newly planted in northeast China and the North China Plain to further consolidate the foundation of China’s grain reserves.

This year’s spring farming in China is highlighted by resource conservation and driven by green development.

In Qian Gorlos Mongol Autonomous County, northeast China’s Jilin Province, soils were sampled by agricultural technicians for tests. After the day of “Jingzhe” or “Awakening of Insects,” the third of China’s 24 solar terms and the start for spring farming, fertilizer formulas were delivered to local farmers based on the test results. The formulas were expected to save two kilograms of fertilizers and increase the yield by 10 kilograms for each mu of corn field.

Lu’an, east China’s Anhui Province is replacing fertilizers with organic ones, and chemical pesticides with bio-pesticides. In a tea plantation in Taiyang Township of the city’s Huoshan County, rows of solar power insecticidal lamps and  traps are placed. Local tea farmer He Xiangru noted that his fellow villagers are now fully aware of the importance of green agriculture.

Ye Xingqing, Director-General of the Research Department of Rural Economy of the Development Research Center of the State Council, told People’s Daily that by driving green development with institutional innovation, China has blazed a trail of modern agricultural development featuring high efficiency, safety, resource conservation and environmentally friendliness.

“Potato planting was a thing of my whole family in the past, but today it’s turning easier with the help of agricultural drones,” said Du Gaogu, president of an agricultural cooperative in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province. He planted 80 mu of potatoes this year, and it only cost him less than a day for spraying. “With the Beidou navigation system, the error was controlled within two centimeters,” he added.

Large agricultural machines are running on the broad farmlands across China, while agricultural drones are flying over them. Besides, big data is also applied to manage the fields. All these smart technologies are helping improve the quality and efficiency of the country’s agricultural sector.

This year, China will build 110 pilot counties for an project involving the internet plus and the supply of agricultural products to cities. At present, agricultural technologies are contributing over 60 percent to China’s agriculture improvement, and 71 percent of crops are planted and harvested by machines.

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