Seeing that his newly planted buckwheat began sprouting on once-flooded farmland, Zhou Jihong said he felt relieved.
Zhou, a farmer in the township of Shannan in Anhui province's Feixi
county, had his 1,400 mu (93.3 hectares) of rice plants devastated after
an unusually heavy rainfall on the night of July 18.
"The flood left me nothing but hopelessness and I thought I was going
broke," he told China Daily last week. "Fortunately, the government
quickly offered me a helping hand after the flood receded."
The farmer replanted on the farmland following local officials'
advice, and he received 182,000 yuan ($26,772), or 130 yuan for each mu,
from the local government as a subsidy to buy seed and plow the land
for replanting. Another 140,000 yuan is also in the pipeline for him as
subsidy to buy fertilizer after the crop grows bigger.
Yao Weidong, deputy head of the township, said that subsidies aim to
help the farmers replant and secure the town's grain production.
"General Secretary Xi Jinping has paid great attention to the
country's food security, and we must overcome the problems caused by the
flood and try to stabilize grain production," he said.
In August, President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the
Communist Party of China Central Committee, paid a visit to the
flood-affected residents in Anhui, where he walked through the fields
under the blazing sun and consoled families of those who died fighting
Xi encouraged farmers to resume their work as floodwaters receded. "I
have always been concerned about people in flood-stricken areas," he
In July, Xi traveled to corn fields in Jilin province, the country's
most crucial commodity grain center, and learned about grain production
as well as mechanized and large-scale farming.
He issued instructions for effective measures to protect and utilize
the high-yielding black soil, which he said is as precious as pandas. "I
care very much about grain production and food security," Xi said.
Approximately 70.47 million people in 28 provinces have been affected
by floods this year, up 17 percent from the average of the past five
years, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.
The floods have resulted in total direct economic losses of almost
214.31 billion yuan, 27 percent more than the average of the past five
years, according to the ministry.
Yao, the township official, said it was not easy to persuade farmers to replant crops after the flood.
"Many people worried that more floods would come, and they refused to
plant crops because they were afraid of a second round of losses," he
said, adding that the problem became more urgent as winter grew nearer.
To help the farmers address the problem, the local government invited
agricultural experts from local research institutes and universities to
offer advice to the farmers.
Following the experts' suggestions, the farmers planted buckwheat and
soybeans on their land. These crops have a shorter growth period－about
three months－and can be harvested before winter.
To encourage the farmers to plant buckwheat, which always grows in
the country's plateau areas and had never been planted in Anhui province
before, the township government helped the farmers contact a local food
processing company to arrange the sale of their crops, Yao said.
These measures were effective in getting farmers to plant again, and the buckwheat plants had already sprouted last week.
Xia Lunping, head of the Hefei Bureau of Agriculture and Rural
Affairs, said that the city government has allocated 100 million yuan of
fiscal funds to subsidize farmers and fishers affected by floods to
"President Xi has stressed the 'people-first' philosophy of
governance many times, which is the guideline for our work," he said.
Xia said about 36,790 hectares of land in Hefei was replanted after
the flood receded, accounting for 99.5 percent of the hard-hit farmlands
that were suitable for replanting.
The bureau is making great efforts to stabilize grain production,
given that the current national food security situation is serious
because of the floods as well as the COVID-19 outbreak this year, he
To respond to COVID-19, the CPC Central Committee adopted timely
measures at an early stage. Central authorities convened the national
work conference on spring plowing in February, one month earlier than
usual, to draw this year's road map for agricultural production.
On many occasions, Xi has stressed the importance of food security,
reiterating that "the rice bowl of the Chinese people, in any situation,
must be firmly held in our own hands".
In a discussion with political advisers from different economic
sectors during the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Conference annual session in May, Xi underlined the
importance of food security. And last month, he made an instruction to
call for the whole of society to resolutely put an end to wasting food
and promote thrift.
Calling the issue of food waste shocking and distressing, Xi
highlighted the need to maintain a sense of urgency regarding food
security, especially amid the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite
the fact that China has scored consecutive bumper harvests.
16th bumper year
China produced a record high of 664 million metric tons of grain last
year, the 16th consecutive year of bumper crops, according to the
National Bureau of Statistics.
The country's summer grain production was 142.8 billion kilograms
this year, up 0.9 percent year-on-year, which is about half of the
growth rate in the same period last year, according to the bureau.
Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said during
the National People's Congress session in May that there would be no
food crisis in China. "There have been good grain harvests for the last
few consecutive years, the stock is abundant and food security is
ensured," he told reporters.
Xia, the agricultural official, said that the Hefei city government
planned to host an event in Changfeng county on Tuesday to mark the
Chinese Farmers' Harvest Festival.
During the ceremony, the government will help the farmers market their crops online and offline to food companies, Xia said.
In 2018, the Chinese government designated Autumnal Equinox, one of
the events on the Chinese lunar calendar, as a festival for farmers to
celebrate the harvest. It usually falls between Sept 22 and 24.