“Internet Plus” drives rural vitalization

Jiang Meiduo, a resident in Wufeng village, Tongling city, east China’s Anhui province, sells local ginger via live-streaming at her studio, March 5, 2021. (People’s Daily Online/Mei Jianguang)

Thanks to e-commerce, Wang Bo, a post-90s young man in Huangling county, northwest China’s Shaanxi province, has bid farewell to poverty and embraced a bright new life over the past several years.

The life-changing story of Wang, who was once a registered poor villager and now a role model in shaking off poverty through e-commerce, started in 2016 with several photos of ripe apples he posted on WeChat Moments.

To his surprise, these photos of apples from the orchard of his family attracted buyers to him. Since then, the man has won an increasing number of customers because of his high-quality products and good reputation.

As the local information network infrastructure continuously improves, Wang joined an e-commerce incubation base in Huangling county under the support of local government.

He then established a village-level e-commerce service station, an e-commerce company, and a cooperative for the planting of fruit trees. While seeing great changes to his own life, Wang has also helped his fellow villagers become better off.

In rural areas of China, more Internet users like Wang are doing business on the Internet. The country’s increasingly fast Internet connections and constantly improving network services have provided strong support for the new group of netizens.

Statistics show that since 2015, China has implemented six batches of pilot projects for universal telecommunications services, and supported a total of 130,000 administrative villages in 27 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) across the country in carrying out broadband network construction and upgrading, including 43,000 registered poverty-stricken villages.

Over 98 percent of the administrative villages in China have been covered by fiber-optic and 4G networks. As of the end of 2020, the total number of rural broadband users in China reached 142 million.

The Internet Plus model in China has also altered the traditional agricultural production model that depends greatly on natural conditions.

In a pear planting base in Chongming district of east China’s Shanghai, where more than 50 pieces of high-tech equipment run automatically every day, farmers can check the condition of fruit trees in the base via their mobile phones with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles.

The digital agriculture base is using robots to winter wash and sterilize fruit trees and spray pesticide over them for the control of diseases and pests. Meanwhile, it has adopted an integrated water and fertilizer irrigation system, which could automatically mix water with fertilizer according to a preset ratio.

The pear planting base is the first project implemented by e-commerce platform Hema Fresh, Alibaba’s fresh-food chain, in Chongming district since the platform established strategic cooperative ties with the government of the district. It supplies products directly to the online and offline sales channels of Hema Fresh.

Various sensors in the base can automatically collect data indicating such factors that affect the growth of the pear as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, light intensity, soil fertility, and salt concentration and upload on to and store relevant information on an Internet of Things (IoT) cloud platform, according to Zhang Yangping, a technical executive at the base.

Based on data analyses, experts build models and offer guidance on farming to improve the quality of pears, Zhang said, disclosing that last year, the output value of high-quality pears produced at the base reached 15,000 yuan (about $2,306) per mu (about 667 square meters).

China will implement projects to boost rural development via digital technologies, advance the development of smart agriculture, and establish a big data system for the agricultural sector and rural areas, according to guidelines on pushing forward all-round rural vitalization and accelerating the modernization of the agricultural sector and rural areas jointly issued by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and China’s State Council.

The country will also make efforts to promote the in-depth integration of new-generation information technology into agricultural production and management, and strengthen the application of digital and intelligent technologies in rural public services and social governance, said the document.

It’s believed that by tapping into the Internet Plus model, China is bound to realize all-round rural vitalization and ensure that rural areas have strong agriculture, beautiful countryside and well-off farmers.

XR industry boasts broad growth space

Students wear VR glasses in class at a primary school in Ganzhou, east China’s Jiangxi province, Nov. 26, 2020. (People’s Daily Online/Hu Jiangtao)

Statistics show that the market value of global extended reality (XR) industry has exceeded $20.4 billion.

XR, an umbrella term encapsulating virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), refers to real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by wearable devices and computer technology.

As XR technologies become more mature, they have been gradually applied in more scenarios that are closely related to the daily life of ordinary people, and seen new consumer markets in recent years.

China’s Spring Festival Gala this year, which was broadcast live in Beijing on the evening of Feb. 11, or the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, adopted XR technologies, and enabled singers from China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Taiwan region who couldn’t be present at the gala give performances remotely.

Thanks to XR technologies, performers were able to interact with stage props in virtual reality scenes perfectly, according to Xia Yu, deputy general director of the Spring Festival Gala.

Xia cited the example of Chinese singer Jay Chou, who brought an audio-visual feast to audiences across the country at his studio in Taiwan during the gala.

The application of XR technologies has made it possible for users to “travel to the past” and “wander in the universe” through virtual trips.

An XR experience store in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, recently launched a program for citizens, which involved digital tours to the Jurassic period and outer space.

With in-depth integration of XR technologies and on-site LED display scenes, aerospace enthusiasts can “come into contact” with satellites flying in orbit tens of thousands of kilometers away from the Earth, while jungle adventurers are able to “go back to the Jurassic period” and “meet” prehistoric dinosaurs in dense rain forests.

XR technologies have also been integrated into the application scenarios concerning smart tourism projects.

XR technologies can help tourist attractions launch systems that enable visitors to better learn about faraway places and remote times in immersive scenes, as well as tourist guide systems and other systems that bring wonderful experiences to visitors through terminals such as VR or AR glasses, mobile apps and browsers, said an executive of ESCHER, a provider of XR smart travel solutions based in China.

Compared with offline tours, scenarios reproduced by XR technologies can enrich the experiences of users, the executive added.

XR industry is full of possibilities, and the thriving 5G technology is considered a catalyst for further stimulating its potential.

Last January, the branch of China Mobile, a major Chinese telecommunications operator, in Zhengzhou, central China’s Henan province, built the province’s first 5G+XR commercial complex in a shopping mall.

By innovatively integrating 5G with XR in games, panoramic live-streaming shows, and VR displays, the mall provides consumers with controllable and interactive shopping live-streaming shows with 8K resolution, and immersive shopping experiences, injecting new impetus into the digital upgrading of commercial complex.

Industry insiders pointed out that with constant progress being made in the large-scale deployment of 5G network and its innovative applications, the “5G plus XR” model is producing a large number of new application scenarios including social networking, office work, entertainment, exhibition and education, which will provide broad development space for the XR industry.

Small appliance sector sees robust growth

A worker is manufacturing products at a plant of Ningbo Borine Electric Appliance Co., Ltd., east China’s Zhejiang Province, Aug. 20, 2020. (People’s Daily Online/Chen Zhangkun)

Small appliances, such as air fryers, electric mops and electric massagers, rose as a highlight of China’s electric appliance industry which registered a remarkable operating revenue of 1.48 trillion yuan ($230 billion) last year.

Given the continuously improving living standard of Chinese residents, as well as the saturate market of traditional home appliances, appliance makers nowadays are placing more emphasis on expanding their market shares. Under this background, the small appliance market is like a “new racing track” of the industry.

Personal beauty equipment, as well as fascia guns are popular among young consumers; electric ovens and breakfast makers make cooking possible for “rookie chefs”; vacuum cleaners and robots free people from daily chores.

These new products are rapidly occupying every scenario of modern living. With their advantages in price and convenience, they have gradually become what’s necessary for more and more people.

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 brought huge impacts on the home appliance industry. The retail sales of the business dropped drastically by over 30 percent in the first quarter of 2020 from a year ago, due to impeded supply chain, offline sales, and logistics.

Compared with the sluggish performance of the traditional business, the small appliance market bucking the trend has injected a strong momentum for recovery into the industry.

The “stay-at-home economy” fueled the demand in the small appliance market, and influencer marketing also created favorable conditions for the market to grow.

Within an hour after last year’s “Double 11” online shopping festival kicked off, the transaction of hundreds of small appliance brands on an e-commerce platform surged over tenfold. As a major front of small appliance retailing, online marketplace embraced booming sales.

Many enterprises renewed their perception of the market, and are closely following the consumption trend that is turning more quality-oriented and intelligent, so as to deliver more innovative products and improve their competitiveness.

For instance, touch screen smart speakers not only conform to the trend of consumption upgrading, but also create benefit for enterprises. They are to some extent a winner in the price competition that alleviates market homogeneity.

Innovations made for small appliances stem from the demand of the market. Facing a consumption demand that is becoming personalized and differentiated, to dig into different market segments is a consensus of the industry.

On one hand, many enterprises have launched customized products for customers. For example, when sales of traditional TVs slipped, TV makers are producing new TV sets catered for education use, offering diversified choices for students and their parents.

On the other hand, driven by a national strategy to bring more appliances to the countryside, many enterprises are working to expand lower-tier markets. The hot sales of electric steamers, foot baths and heating tables in small- and middle-sized cities, as well as rural regions fully explained their huge consumption potential to be released.

The emerging small appliance sector mirrors the upgrading and transformation of China’s manufacturing. The country’s traditional manufacturing industry is going through a profound reform regarding development philosophy, production techniques and sales channels.

By combining the expansion of domestic demand with supply-side structural reform, creating new demand with high-quality supply, and constantly satisfying people’s growing need for a better life, China’s traditional industries have discovered new areas of growth and are revitalizing with new energy.

China strives to advance rural tourism

Tourists visit a scenic spot in Jiangwan Township, Shangrao, east China’s Jiangxi Province, Oct. 7, 2020. (People’s Daily Online/Hu Dunhuang)

China’s rural tourism embraced rapid development in recent years.

In 2019, over 300,000 entities running agritourism businesses had been established in the country, generating total revenue of 850 billion yuan ($130.28 billion). Last year, rural tourism created 11 million jobs and benefited over eight million rural households.

Rural tourism destinations also saw huge numbers of visitors during this year’s Spring Festival holiday.

To keep the authentic rural features is what many regions trying to do when developing rural tourism. At present, China’s rural tourism sector is becoming more subdivided and characteristic, with higher quality.

Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) noted that it will further optimize the rural tourism industry and build a batch of high-quality projects.

According to Zhou Yezheng, deputy director of MARA’s Department of Rural Industries, 400 villages and townships have been selected for the demonstration of the “one village, one product” project aiming at boosting local industrial development, which will help foster contiguous development. Besides, the country also issued a list to recommend featured rural products and craftsmen, as a way to help rural areas market their featured industries.

Feng Xi, after working in Shanghai for two years, decided to go back to his hometown in Jiuhuashan, east China’s Anhui Province. Helping his parents with his family’s agritainment business at first, Feng sensed the bright prospects of rural tourism, and persuaded his parents to upgrade their facilities and launched online services of customized tours.

“Most of the visitors come here for leisure activities and to spend holidays, so I hope I can offer them more personalized services,” Feng said.

Apart from providing tour services, Feng is also cooperating with a few young people around him to sell local specialties online. During this year’s Spring Festival holiday, they for the first time livestreamed the scenery of Jiuhuashan Mountain.

Envisioning a bright future of rural tourism, more and more young entrepreneurs like Feng are going to the countryside to start their businesses. The new business philosophies and development modes they brought are huge wealth for the country to develop rural tourism.

To attract more high-level professionals in the cultural and tourism sector is an inevitable step for the upgrade of China’s rural tourism. Huang Xihua, a deputy to the National People’s Congress and general manager of Guangdong Provincial Tourism Holdings Co., Ltd., proposed that the country establish an institution of higher learning of rural revitalization to cultivate more professionals for rural tourism.

Vocational education drives employment

Students compete in a skill competition for higher vocational schools held in east China’s Jiangsu Province, Sept, 29, 2020. (People’s Daily Online/Xu Peiqin)

China’s higher vocational education institutions provided scholarships totaling 20.4 billion yuan ($3.13 billion) to seven groups of students, including registered poor students during the recent eight years, said a report on targeted poverty alleviation by China’s higher vocational schools.

A total of 4.2 billion yuan of tuition fees were exempted for these groups of students, and 92.15 percent of poor students have been employed, according to the report.

Besides, free education was offered for over 90 percent of students in vocational high schools, and China’s state student-aid covered around 40 percent of current students.

In the past eight years, technical experts from China’s higher vocational education institutions made 76,000 trips to impoverished regions, where they developed 8,421 featured industrial projects and introduced 4,323 industrial projects, increasing local industrial income by a total of over 4.5 billion yuan.

At present, over 70 percent of students studying at China’s higher vocational schools come from rural regions. Millions of families have realized their common dream of having a college student thanks to vocational education.

“A handicraft co-designed by me was sent to foreign guests as a gift,” said Luo Linhua, a woman from the mountainous areas in Qiannan Buyi-Miao Autonomous Prefecture, southwest China’s Guizhou Province who graduated from Guizhou Forerunner College.

Nine years ago, when the college went to Luo’s hometown for recruitment, there was not even a table at Luo’s home, and the kettles had to be put on the ground. Today, after graduation, Luo landed a job in China’s capital Beijing.

China’s higher vocational schools sent 364,000 junior college graduates of medical majors to impoverished areas as a way to alleviate the lack of medical resources there. They also carried out health trainings for 506,000 people and trained 355,000 medical workers in impoverished regions. Besides, they proactively volunteered to go to poor regions to give medical consultation and donate medicines.

They sent 21,000 junior college graduates of environmental protection majors to impoverished areas, offered training courses on ecological civilization for 221,000 people, and provided 2,859 items of technical support in ecological and environmental protection.

In addition, higher vocational schools cultivated 95,000 art and cultural professionals for impoverished regions, launched free performances and volunteer services that covered 828,000 people in these region, and helped them establish 5,857 local rules and regulations.

Pairing assistance by higher vocational education institutions also played a major role in targeted poverty alleviation in poor regions. According to the report, higher vocational schools dispatched 22,000 personnel to work in 9,586 impoverished regions, lifting 576,000 people out of poverty. In addition, they offered pairing assistance for 9,359 schools in poor areas, helped establish 6,646 majors in these areas, and trained 584,000 teachers there.

China pushes greener e-commerce

An express package recycling bin is set up at an agency of SF Express in Jinhua, east China’s Zhejiang province. Couriers throw express packages into the bin, Jan. 6, 2021. (People’s Daily Online/ Li Jianlin)

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) recently issued a notice to advance green development of e-commerce enterprises, guiding the industry to become more friendly to the environment.

Twelve measures in four major areas, including promoting the management of green supply chain for express parcel packages, were launched.

According to statistics released by the State Post Bureau, China’s courier industry handled a total of 83 billion express parcels in 2020, up 30.8 percent year on year. The booming development of the industry has facilitated people’s daily life, but the packages of express parcels are also generating massive waste. Data from the State Administration for Market Regulation indicate that China’s courier industry produces around 1.8 million tonnes of plastic waste and over 9 million tonnes of paper waste each year.

Realizing the serious environmental problem, many e-commerce enterprises have taken measures to “slim” the packages of express parcels.

“It was recommended by a courier,” said a man surnamed Li from Yinchuan, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, pointing to a “Feng BOX,” a recyclable express parcel package launched by Chinese express delivery giant SF Express. “I just want to contribute my part to environmental protection,” he told People’s Daily.

The Feng BOX is not sealed by traditional packaging materials, such as adhesive tapes, cartons or plastic fillings, but a smart anti-theft seal. According to statistics, each Feng BOX can be used at least 50 times, which is able to significantly reduce the consumption of packaging materials.

The MOFCOM notice requests e-commerce enterprises in key areas to gradually stop using non-degradable plastic bags and disposable woven bags, and reduce the use of non-degradable plastic cohesive tapes.

Cainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, replaced part of its plastic packaging with environmental-friendly bags made from bio-based materials during the “Double 11,” the largest online shopping festival in China, last year. The new bags, made from reproducible materials such as straws and ageing grains, can each save 4.4 grams of plastics at the production end, which significantly mitigates the negative impacts of express parcel packaging on environment.

Direct sourcing and direct shipping can also effectively reduce the use of packaging materials. According to an employee of JD.com, a major e-commerce platform in China, the company is encouraging merchants to apply external drop-shipping. At present, over 1,000 kinds of commodities on the platform are directly shipped from the suppliers, which reduces the use of 150 million cartons.

The notice also proposed to further enhance the capability of digital operation, encourage modern information technologies among e-commerce enterprises, such as cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence, better match supply and demand, improve stock turnover, and enhance the sharing of multi-channel logistics to reduce logistics cost and consumption.

Winter sports become new custom

Visitors experience snowtubing at a scenic spot in Haigang District, Qinhuangdao, north China’s Hebei Province, Feb. 15, 2021. (People’s Daily Online/Cao Jianxiong)

Ski resorts and ice rinks remained hot destinations for Chinese to go during the past Spring Festival holiday. As the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games approach, winter sports are enjoying increasingly higher popularity across the country and going into the daily life of the public.

Yuan Zhaozhi from Beijing took his son who’s in primary school to a ski resort in a suburb of the capital during the Spring Festival holiday.

“Many of his friends love skiing, so he asked me to take him to a ski resort soon after the last semester ended. Surprisingly he was even better than me after we both learned the basics in the morning,” said the man, who was a completely tyro skier then, adding that the development of the sport shall start with children.

As a part of the host city, his family shall actively join winter sports, especially when the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games are about to kick off in less than a year, he told People’s Daily.

Driven by the Winter Olympic Games, the visitor volume experienced steady growth this winter in major ski resorts located in suburban Beijing and Chongli, a district of Zhangjiakou of Hebei Province that will host six disciplines during the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Though ski resorts adopted measures to limit visitor crowding for pandemic control, especially during the winter vacation and the Spring Festival holiday, the enthusiasm of skiing fans never faded.

Before the Spring Festival holiday, the Chinese capital issued e-vouchers to citizens to boost cultural consumption, including free tickets to ski resorts. According to statistics, two ski resorts in Beijing’s Yanqing District received a total of nearly 15,000 skiers during the 7-day holiday, as well as 155,000 tourists, generating total tourism revenue of over 10 million yuan ($1.55 million).

To bring 300 million Chinese into the fold of winter sports with the 2022 Winter Olympics is a solemn promise made by China to the international society. At present, winter sports are no longer exclusive to north China, but have been developed across the country.

In February this year, southwest China’s Sichuan Province kicked off its third winter sports festival. A total of more than three million people joined the indoor and outdoor winter activities held during the Spring Festival holiday, which significantly expanded the influence of winter sports in the province.

In Shanghai’ Lingang New Area, the construction of Wintastar Shanghai, the world’s largest indoor ski resort started on Feb 14. Expected to be completed before the end of 2022, the 90,000-square meter project will attract winter sports fans around the world. After years of development, Shanghai is now seeing more than 600,000 people skiing each year.

The holding of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games not only accelerated the construction of winter sports venues in China, but also activated tourism potential related to winter resources. Local governments across the country have all tailored new measures and developed new products, so as to bring winter sports closer to the people.

Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province launched 10 quality winter tour routes. During the Spring Festival holiday, over 80,000 people visited the city for winter sports, accounting for 40 percent of the city’s annual tourists reception. Winter tourism also drove the development of multiple businesses, such as catering, shopping and transport.

Jilin city of northeast China’s Jilin Province is situated on the golden latitudes of winter sports. It has two world-level ski resorts and multiple medium and large ski areas. During this Spring Festival holiday, the city issued coupons to attract citizens and tourists to join winter sports and release market potential. Statistics indicated that Jilin received over 2.6 million tourists during the holiday, witnessing tourism revenue of 2.1 billion yuan.

Driven by the craze for winter sports, many regions in south China are also building relevant commercial complexes and mountain skiing facilities to promote the development of the industry. So far, southern cities of Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Chongqing have all become hot destinations of winter sports, and provinces of Zhejiang, Guizhou and Hubei saw an annual growth of around 10 percent in the number of winter sports tourists.

A report issued by China Tourism Academy said that “to play with ice and snow” has become a new fashion of China’s winter tourism, a sector that is injecting new impetus into winter consumption. A total of 230 million Chinese are expected to join winter leisure activities and tourism this winter, generating revenue of more than 390 billion yuan.

China promotes global poverty reduction

Photo taken on Sept. 3, 2019 shows a newly built rural road aided by China in Kampong Thom Province, Cambodia. (Photo courtesy of Shanghai Construction Group)

Winning the fight against poverty, China has made absolute poverty, which has haunted the Chinese nation for thousands of years, a thing in the past. As the world’s largest developing country, China’s remarkable success is inspiring the world to achieve a better future regarding poverty reduction.

Poverty reduction has always been a tricky problem that bothers global development and governance. It is considered a basic human right in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It is also a primary task of the 17 goals in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The World Bank estimates that there are still 700 million people in the world living in extreme poverty, while the COVID-19 pandemic has brought further challenges to the cause of poverty reduction.

To realize the mankind’s common ideal of poverty elimination, the world needs extra sincerity, guidance, determination and practical efforts.

China has always been a positive advocate and promoter of poverty alleviation. Its contribution to the cause of global poverty alleviation is reflected in how its own poverty achievements have boosted the world’s confidence, how its poverty reduction experiences have inspired other countries, how it has conducted cooperation on poverty reduction with the rest of the world, and how it is committed to promoting win-win cooperation and common development for all countries to share development results.

China’s characteristic poverty eradication theories receive global attention and have a profound impact. In recent years, many foreign personages visited China to observe and learn from the country’s poverty alleviation experiences, and they all believe that China’s experiences is worth being learning from by other developing countries.

In December 2018, the 73rd UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to eradicate poverty in rural areas, which incorporated the Chinese theories and practices of “targeted poverty alleviation” and “win-win cooperation.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said targeted poverty reduction strategies are the only way to reach those farthest behind and achieve the ambitious targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

China is actively conducting international cooperation on poverty reduction, fulfilling its international obligations and offering as much assistance as it can for developing countries.

It not only works with international organizations including the UN to help other developing countries reduce poverty, but also is advancing cooperation programs under frameworks of the East Asia Cooperation Initiative on Poverty Reduction and the China-Africa poverty reduction plan.

On the banks of the Mekong River, villages have been connected to safe and clean water supply thanks to Chinese experts, who also built wide and flat asphalt roads and new houses there for local communities. In African countries of Madagascar, Nigeria and Mozambique, China’s hybrid rice is also helping local farmers realize their dreams of harvests and income growth. Chinese experts of Juncao, a technology that enables the cultivation of fungi on grass, have spread the seeds of fortune to over 100 countries and regions in the past two decades, finding solutions to human existence and development through the magic of technology.

China always believes that true development is development for all, and development opportunities shall be made equal, and development results shared.

The country is joining hands with global countries to build the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and promoting the alignment between the BRI and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has also established of Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to help relevant countries develop and proposed ten cooperation plans and eight major initiatives with Africa.

China’s sincere support and assistance for other developing countries, especially the least developed countries to eradicate poverty, showcases the due responsibility of a major country. No country can lead the world better than China does in poverty reduction and South-South cooperation, said a foreign dignitary.

“A single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden.” China is willing to work with the rest of the world to build a community with shared future for mankind.

China endeavors to ensure spring farming

Villagers plough their fields in Guanmiao village, Qifu Township, Yuechi County, Guang’an, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, Feb. 24. (Photo by Zhang Qifu/People’s Daily Online)

A Chinese proverb says that a year’s plan starts with spring. In China, more than half of the grain area is planted in the spring, and spring farming concerns the harvests in the following two seasons.

At present, spring farming and preparation is conducted across the country from south to north, and multiple measures have been rolled out to guarantee agricultural production.

To stabilize grain and soybean output and increase corn acreage is a major theme of China’s spring farming this year. In 2020, China will work to ensure the planting of over 1.75 billion mu (117 million hectares) of grains this year, and to consolidate the planting area of double cropping rice is a priority in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Besides, the country will also ensure that the newly added planting areas of early season rice in 2020 is not reduced this year. Corn acreage is expected to be expanded in northeast China, North China Plain, southwest China and northwest China. Soybean planting area will be stabilized in these regions.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), the planting areas of winter wheat and winter rapeseed will recover growth this year. A total of 335 million mu of winter wheat is planted, 3 million mu more than that from a year ago; 96 million mu of winter rapeseed is planted, up around 4 million mu year on year. The growth of winter wheat and winter rapeseed in most places of China is better than that in the last year. The proportion of first- and second-class winter wheat has reached 88.5 percent, 1.9 percentages higher year on year, laying a solid foundation for summer harvest.

Sufficient supply of agricultural materials is ensuring smooth spring farming and future harvests.

In an agricultural cooperative in Xiapanao village, Ankang Township, Anxiang County, Changde, central China’s Hunan Province, 15,000 kilograms of seed rice are standing by in a warehouse. The seed rice, apart from being distributed to the 2,000 mu of farmland contracted by the cooperative, will also be offered for other nearby major growers, serving the production in a total of nearly 4,000 mu of land.

“The recent situation in the market indicated that the supply of seeds is sufficient this spring, and the supply of other agricultural materials is also guaranteed,” said Zhou Jianguo, head of the cooperative.

As a major grain producer of Hunan Province, Anxiang County is planning to grow over 810,000 mu of grains this year. To promote large-scale production of early season rice, the county has established five sprout cultivation factories, which will be completed at the end of March before the start of sprout cultivation.

According to MARA, 3.4 billion kilograms of corn, rice and soybean seeds will be offered for this year’s spring farming. Besides, 20.3 million tons of fertilizers are also expected to be provided.

Agricultural machineries are also offering effective services for spring farming.

Zhongxian County in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality has been promoting subsidizing policies for purchasing agricultural machineries just after the Spring Festival. The municipality has offered a total subsidy of 72 million yuan ($11.14 million), and dispatched machinists to villages to guide the maintenance, testing and reconditioning of agricultural machineries.

Xu Zongquan is a major grower in Zhongling village, Xinli Township of Zhongxian County. He runs a professional cooperative in the village that offers machinery services for nearby farmers.

His cooperative has all kinds of agricultural machines, including rice transplanters with three robotic arms, as well as drones that are able to spray pesticides. Besides, a rotary cultivator in the cooperative is able to plough over 40 mu of land per day.

It is reported that over 22 million sets of agricultural machineries will be employed in China’s spring farming this year. Most of the machineries have been reconditioned and have been put into service.