Henan shucking regulation prompts online peanut fury

By Ji Yuqiao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/9 23:33:40

People dry and shuck peanuts in a community in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, in September 2012. Photo: IC

A provincial regulation banning shucking peanuts outdoors at fall harvest sparked a furious backlash from internet users who denounced the policy as one-size-fits-all.

The regulation was issued by Henan authorities including the department of ag­riculture and rural affairs and the department of finance.

It requires farmers and companies in the province to shuck - remove the shell - of peanuts indoors and would-be peanut vendors to conduct dust control. 

The outdoor ban forms part of a group of systematic measures targeting the dust created by processing peanuts, including support for research and low-dust machinery, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Monday.

A quarter of China's 45,600 square kilome­ters of peanut fields were located in Henan in 2018, according to media reports.

The Central China province has long sought to reform its peanut industry, citing noise and dust caused by processing at harvest season in previous years.  

Henan, the landlocked home of 96 million people and the cradle of Chinese civilization, is today a heavy industrial province with air pollution reportedly three times the national average in 2017.

But internet users denounced the regulation's approach as one-size-fits-all saying that it is still  not clear whether or not outdoor shucking truly contributes to air pollution. 

They also doubted whether an individual Henan farmer would have enough money to convert to the government's preferred mass shucking machine. 

The department's regulation encourages peanut companies to subsidize individual farmers into upgrading their shucking machinery in 30 counties in the province.  

Meanwhile, an expert warned that moving shucking indoors might backfire.

"The peanut shell is so thin and flammable and shucking indoors risks a dust explosion," said Zhang Yuanxun, an environmental science expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.


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