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Youth seek development in rural areas

By ZHU LIXIN in Wuhu, Anhui and ZHAO RUIXUE in Jinan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-09-23 08:06

Attracted by the improved rural environment and promising agricultural development, a growing number of young people have sought out rural areas, enriching local farmers with modern agricultural technologies and innovations.

Chai Guoquan, 43, is one of them. After working in real estate for 10 years, he took on the challenge of cultivating over 15 hectares of barren mountains to grow organic tea in Wanzhi district of Wuhu, Anhui province where the sixth farmers' harvest festival will be held on Saturday.

Six years later, he expanded his agricultural base by investing in modern agricultural projects in the district. "Now, our agricultural projects have not only created employment opportunities for local villagers but showcased the immense potential of agricultural technology in enhancing productivity," said Chai.

More than 30 farmers work at his farming base on a regular basis, and during peak agricultural periods, the company hires around 80 temporary workers per day, who earn an average daily wage of 200 yuan ($27), he said.

To date, Chai has introduced several advanced agricultural technologies, including ecological and digital agriculture, to promote the modernization of local farming practices.

"In the course of developing agriculture, we have encountered numerous challenges, such as the labor shortage in rural areas," Chai said.

To address the issue, he has implemented innovative measures such as using a smart system that integrates water and fertilizer application, which has reduced the need for manual labor.

Like Chai, Wu Yongze works for a company called "Beyond the City" in Shanghai and has developed 66.7 hectares of fields to grow organic rice in Yixian county, Huangshan, Anhui province.

Nestled among the mountains, the expanse of rice fields has turned yellow, and the heavy rice ears have bent the rice stalks, waiting to be harvested. Wu has been leading a group of young people to experience the joy of harvesting.

"In the past, for me, harvest meant no longer being hungry. Now, harvest means high-quality development in rural areas," said Wu.

Wu said the super farm they developed in the county integrates the functions of the agricultural and service sectors, which not only produce agricultural products but provide a place for tourism.

In the neighboring province of Shandong, a major agriculture base in China, a large number of farmers armed with knowledge and expertise are also developing high-quality agriculture in the rural areas.

He Shibao, 33, completed spraying fertilizer with 20 drones over a large expanse of cornfield at the Luwang farm in Pingyuan county, Dezhou last week. This is the last round before the corn harvest.

After graduating with a master's degree in insectology from Chongqing's Southwest University in 2018, He secured a position at Pingyuan Luwang Agricultural Development Company in rural Shandong.

He has been utilizing cutting-edge technologies such as deep plowing and integrated water and fertilizer systems to develop the farm. Despite managing 66 hectares of farm alone, He achieves high and stable crop yields. Even during the rainy autumn season in 2021 that flooded some cornfields, his farm saw increased corn yields thanks to advanced facilities to drain off water.

Now the talent team at Luwang farm in Pingyuan has expanded to 32 members, including nine with master's degrees.

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