Real modern times

Updated: 2011-04-06 16:19

By Lu Chang (

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CHANGCHUN — Cong Guangbo, 65, was a typical farmer in rural China who used to work long hours on his 1.2-hectare land, earning about 8,000 yuan (860 euros) a year. But from 2008, he stopped toiling his land but still saw his income grow substantially - thanks to machines.

That year, the Chinese government began to allow rural households to transfer land-use rights, allowing small and scattered plots – like Cong's – to be put together for more efficient and intensive cultivation.

At the same time, increased subsidies were given out to buy farm machines to modernize agriculture.

The government undertook the moves to combat the growing trend of farmers’ children turning their back on farming in droves, lured by hopes of an exciting and prosperous city life.

Chi Renli, a professor of Agricultural Engineering in China Agricultural University in Beijing, says China is now at a critical transition stage in its development from traditional labor-intensive farm production to one that’s more reliant on machinery.

To read more, please get a copy of China Daily European Weekly due to be published on April 8, or visit on the same day.



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