Jilin, China’s main grain producer, offers support to virus-affected farming sector
Published: Apr 10, 2022 07:55 PM
Farmers work hard in the field during the annual spring farming on March 23, 2022 in Dali County, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Photo:cnsphoto

Farmers work hard in the field during the annual spring farming on March 23, 2022 in Dali County, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Photo:cnsphoto

As one of the largest grain producers of the country, Northeast China's Jilin Province is making every effort from finance to transportation to fully support the normal operations of spring farming for 2022, as Jilin city, which has been hit hard by the latest COVID-19 outbreak, announced on Friday that it had reached zero-COVID status at the community level.

Local officials said at a press conference on Saturday that 53,288 farmers had returned to the countryside to prepare for the spring farming season as of April 7, and 21 rice planting counties in the province had started breeding rice seedlings for 9.59 million mu (639,333 hectares) of planting area.

In order to ease financial burdens, the local branch of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, has rolled out 30 supportive measures to help farmers, including financial support. 

Local officials vowed on Sunday to increase lending this year, and to add an extra 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) of loans for spring farming units, virus-affected industries as well as small and middle-sized companies in the province.

Gao Guangyong, a farm owner and farming services provider in Dongfeng county in Jilin Province, told the Global Times on Sunday that farmers from different cities are returning to their farms following the government's guidance, to prepare for the vital point-in-time of annual farming outlines.

"Local governments have organized special buses to carry farmers back to their farms, even though the traffic in their cities is still under pandemic control," said Gao. He noted that returning farmers should provide negative nucleic acid test results and follow quarantine policies after arriving at their destinations. If they do, their schedule for spring farming will be less delayed. 

Jilin officials also said on Sunday that the overall preparations for 2022 spring farming are running smoothly. The arrival rates for seeds and fertilizers had reached 95.25 percent and 83.19 percent, respectively, slightly faster than the same period in previous years, which demonstrated that the agriculture transport channels can be accessed. 

Gao said that his company is applying to the local government for a cross-county farming service program in a neighboring county. "The special license for transporting large farming vehicles has been done, now we are working on the license for vehicle operators," said Gao. 

He revealed that five large farming vehicles and 10 vehicle operators from his company are scheduled to join the program. "The barriers for staff and cargo transport are being resolved, which will hasten the recovery of the local agriculture sector," said Gao.

The Jilin government is also appealing to farmers in the countryside to help their neighbors trapped by the coronavirus to overcome tough times. The government of Jilin city said on Saturday that virus-affected farmland had declined from 2,479 mu to 470 mu after the government call to help neighbors.