Modern techniques, operational models producing bumper yields
Residents in Shanxi province celebrated the fourth Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival, a national event for farmers, at Shanxi Agricultural Valley in the city of Jinzhong on Sept 23.
A rich variety of produce including corn, millet, pumpkin and medical herbs were exhibited at an exhibition hall in the valley.
Outside the venue, there were float parades, song, dance and folk shows all performed by farmers from across Shanxi.
Lin Wu, Party secretary of Shanxi province, attended the festival.
When speaking to the visitors, Lin said that as Shanxi eliminated absolute poverty in 2020, the province is now shifting its focus to rural revitalization.
The official said Shanxi's rural development has entered a new era, featuring agricultural modernization, innovation in operational models, and fostering special and advantageous farming products.
He noted that the provincial authorities will continue their support for rural development and helping rural residents improve their livelihoods.
While farmers celebrated the festival at the venue in Jinzhong, the festive atmosphere could be felt all over rural Shanxi.
In the village of Yaohui in Jingle county, Jia Xiuping was busy harvesting quinoa on her farm of nearly 70 hectares.
Jia said she was happy with the quality and quantity of the harvest.
"I estimate that the output on this farm can earn me nearly 2 million yuan ($310,000) this year," Jia said.
She said the good harvest was made possible with the use of modern farming machinery and local agronomists' efforts in improving the quality and yield of the crop.
Quinoa was originally imported into China from South America and Shanxi started farming it about a decade ago.
Jingle is a high-altitude county in Shanxi, with natural conditions suitable for growing quinoa.
The county is now a nationally renowned production base for the crop that is known for being rich in nutrition. Its stable output, high quality and competitive prices have made it a major source of revenue for local farmers.
Also benefiting from modern agricultural technology are the apple farmers in the village of Dongzhuang in Yicheng county.
Local resident Cao Jiang runs a 1.3-hectare farm growing high-quality apples known as "King of Mid-Autumn". He expects his farm can earn him more than 200,000 yuan in net income this year.
Cao said special thanks should be given to farming technicians like Li Wencheng, who has taught farmers modern ways of cultivation and introduced modern machinery and technology.
Li, a retired technician, is also the owner of a small farm of about 0.7 hectares.
"My wife and I could earn more than 100,000 yuan from the farm this year. That will be a handsome income for an old couple like us," Li said.
"A smaller farm means a lighter workload, which allows me to have more time to teach farming skills and techniques to locals."
Wang Guolin, Party secretary of the village, said farmers like to call the local apples "cash fruit" because of the healthy incomes they provide.
"There are nearly 75 hectares of apple trees in our village, including 20 hectares of 'King of Mid-Autumn'," Wang said. "We estimate the villagers' total revenue from apples this year can surpass 4.5 million yuan."
Chen Zhilong, a millet farmer in Shanyin county, is another beneficiary of both advanced technologies and new operational models.
"Some techniques and technologies are so amazing that we have gained an unexpected yield of our crops," Chen said.
One technique advised by local agronomists is to change the sowing time from spring to winter, according to Chen. "This change in technique, plus the use of water-saving technology, has led to a per-hectare increase in yield of 3 metric tons."
The farmer said there are a number of cooperatives and companies engaged in the processing and sales of local millet.
Xinfei Agriculture Development is one such cooperative in Shanyin.
"We are selling millet through a branding strategy," said Dong Pingping, deputy general manager of the company. "Our Fuxi brand－which means selenium-rich－millet has been well received in both domestic and overseas markets, with overseas orders amounting to 30 million yuan so far this year."
Chen said he is selling his organic and selenium-rich millet to companies like Xinfei at prices of more than 60 yuan a kilogram, which is several times higher than that of a couple of years ago.