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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: April 27, 2012 NO. 18 MAY 3, 2012
Super Farmer
A Chinese farmer uses economies of scale to increase agricultural productivity
By Tang Weibin & Huang Yan

SOWING SEASON: A farmer from the Chunhui Agricultural Machinery Cooperative tills a field on March 6 (XIAO YIJIU)

"We can realize mechanization and scale of production and increase labor productivity by pooling land together," Tan said.

In the compound of Chunhui Group is a spectacular array of agricultural machines, including tractors, rice transplanters, planters, harvesters and mist sprayers.

"These are not all our machines. We set up an agricultural machinery cooperative and farmers can contribute their machines as a share. The income from leasing machines in sowing and harvesting seasons is split according to share ownership," Tan said.

On January 4, members of the Longgang Land Shareholding Cooperative got their first dividend. Wang Yulan, a villager in Longgang Village, said that she was paid 7,500 yuan ($1,189) for renting out her 1.1 hectare of land last year, and she was paid an additional 5,500 yuan ($872) for working as an agricultural worker in the cooperative for four months.

"Now I can earn a salary without leaving my hometown. The deal is pretty good," she said.

Tan is drawing a new blueprint. "In two to three years, we are going to add 33,333 hectares of rice paddies, so that we can further improve productivity and increase farmers' income," he said.


The Chunhui Agricultural Academy is Chunhui Group's research arm, running a large intelligent seed nursery. An imported seed germinator bought with 300,000 yuan ($47,553) has significantly improved its seed germination rate and seedling quality.

In Chunhui Group's rice paddies, a U.S.-produced computer-controlled land scraper is used to level the field, which can improve land productivity and save water and fertilizers. A solar-powered extermination lamp is used to kill insects. A security monitoring room has been built to monitor the 400 plus hectares of land near Longgang Village. The fields 10 km away and vegetables in the seedling greenhouse are all under the watch of surveillance cameras.

Tan said that an asset more valuable for Chunhui Group than machinery is agricultural scientists and technicians. Last year, Chunhui Group recruited more than 30 college graduates. They are assigned to work in the field, engaging in agricultural production and management.

Wang Jinwei graduated from the Agronomy Department of Xiaogan College. He said, "Here, I can put what I have learned into use, and realize my value in life."

At an intelligent drying plant that can dry 480 tons of grain everyday, Tan said that many problems in traditional agricultural production can be solved by extending the production chain.

"At present, the profit from crop planting is still very low. Last year, I just broke even," he said, "We should continue to complete the production chain, further process agricultural products, develop ecoagriculture and improve grain warehousing and logistic services."

(The article first appeared in Chinese on Xinhuanet.com)

Email us at: yaobin@bjreview.com

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