Farm workforce withers as young people leave

Updated: 2012-02-29 08:20

By He Na and Han Junhong (China Daily)

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Grounded, but with a growing ambition

Editor's note: Li Mingchao is 22 years old and works on his parents' farm in Daling town, Jilin province.

Most of my classmates have gone to cities and found jobs in large factories.

Farm workforce withers as young people leave

Li Mingchao said he would rather get dirty working on his parents' farm in Jilin than join his classmates struggling to survive in the city. [He Na / China Daily]

They work very hard and overtime is common; some of them only have one day off a month. Yet, they still earn less than 2,000 yuan ($320) a month.

Take away the cost of accommodation and meals, and it's unlikely they have any money left at the end of the month.

My friends look down on me because I am effectively a laborer working in a field. They think it's dirty and that I am losing face. For me, though, it's a career I truly love.

The vegetables we grow on our farm are popular in supermarkets (his family supplies produce to Wal-Mart stores). I plan to get some experience first and then rent more land so we gradually develop our greenhouses to be the largest vegetable base in town.

My sister also likes the idea of helping my parents to expand production when she has finished her studies in Japan.

I want to be a farmer who is admired by others.

Li Mingchao was talking to He Na.

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