Young people return to hometown to vitalize farmlands in central China’s Hunan

By He Yong, People’s Daily
“Despite of the impacts of the novel coronavirus epidemic, we still managed to achieve this year’s goal of planting high-quality rice on 1,533 hectares of farmland,” said Yin Hongdao excitedly.
The 29-year-old grain farmer, who is from Yangban village, Xiumei town, Linli county in central China’s Hunan province, was once a deputy general manager in charge of human resources of an electronics company in Dongguan, south China’s Guangdong province.
Although Yin led a free life when working in Dongguan, he was far away from his family. When he came back home for the Spring Festival in 2016, he found his father had aged a lot, with all his hair going white. His father Yin Fuyuan has engaged in grain processing for over three decades.
Yin Hongdao, who decided to work in the village after the Spring Festival, found the equipment too old and the barns too small. For this reason, many farmers had to travel over 10 kilometers to sell their grain. Besides, large grain enterprises prefer working with companies with standard barns.
Then he came up with the idea of setting up a standard barn, which would cost 4.5 million yuan ($0.63 million). Although opposed by many, including his father, he built the barn with his own savings. The new barn could store 17,000 tons of grains, more than twice the capacity of the old one.
This allowed his company to cooperate with China Grain Reserves Group Ltd. Company in the same year, and his business to cover grain farmers in four towns nearby.
But here came another problem – the grain’s varieties and quality varied greatly, so the products could not be sold at a good price. He decided to promote high-quality rice, through contract farming.
Thanks to the efforts of his company, high-quality rice was planted on 1,000 hectares of farmland in 2017, increasing the net income of each household by 150 yuan ($21) per mu (0.07 hectare), up by over 20 percent. Highly motivated by such good news, quite a few farmers planted rice again on their abandoned farmland.
In 2019, the high-quality rice of his company reached 1,200 hectares.
Yin’s company has signed long-term contracts with more than 10 farmers, and three of them have been lifted out of poverty.
Yin is one of the many young people who chose to go back to their hometown to start a career in recent years. The past three years have seen over 1,700 young talents going back to Linli county, which succeeded in lifting 4,200 local people out of poverty.
The ways the young people make contributions to Linli county are diverse. Some started their own business right after graduation; some started a career after accumulating wealth in their previous jobs. Some entered the field of e-commerce, opening up a vast market for local agricultural products; some brought new technologies and equipment to the farms, making agricultural activities more efficient; and some built barns to facilitate contract farming.
The key of rural vitalization lies in the vitalization on all fronts including rural industry and training of professionals.
Thanks to a series of favorable policies of local governments, including building relevant platforms and providing care and support, a growing number of young people are returning to the villages. While realizing their own dreams, they also inject fresh vitality to the villages.

A farmer transplants early rice with a rice transplanter in Renhe village, Xiaodukou town, Lixian county, Hunan province on April 22. Photo by Bai Yipu/ People’s Daily Online

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