China Countryside Life

Under the new incentive System laid down for agriculture, forestry; animal husbandry fish raising, and side-line production, the family is likely to work under a contract between the household and the nearby state commerce department. The “all-around contract with the household” lays down bow much land the household is to farm, and what amount of crops, pigs, poultry, eggs, etc., it should sell to the state. It also lays down how much the household must contribute in the way of agricultural tax. Any produce left over the contract is fulfilled may be consumed, stored, or sold on the open market. Compulsory purchase by the state have been abandoned, although the state sets protective prices and buys any surplus if market prices fall too low

The working day is long and the work bard. For hundreds of years the pattern of work throughout the year has followed a regular cycle.

South of the Yangzi rice cultivation dominates farm life. In the early spring the family plows the field and removes the stubble remaining from the Winter crop. Fertilizer is added to the soil and water allowed to ran on to form a paddy. The rice plants that have been growing in the nursery fields are then transplanted, and thereafter the field is repeatedly weeded mail cultivated. The water irrigating the field is run off as the rice plants grow and the gain matures. Harvesting and threshing take place, the harvesting usually by hand and the threshing by a primitive foot-pedaled threshing box. When harvesting is complete the gelds have to be prepared for winter crops These vary according to the location of the farm. In the south a second or a third rice crop may be planted; in the north the gelds may be sown to what or rape.

In the north of China the peasant family spends a good deal of its time bringing water to the farmlands. When spring arriving, some of the gelds are in winter fallow and must be prepared for spring planting by plowing and fertilizing. In the other gelds, continual hand-irrigation and hoeing are necessary to sustain the winter wheat that is beginning to sprout. In April/May the fallowed gelds are sown to other crops. particularly millet and gaoliang. In other areas cotton maybe planted. Again. these gelds mast be irrigated constantly to ensure germination.

A short time later, in June or July, the winter wheat is harvested, threshed, and winnowed; the gelds are then prepared for the planting or corn or soy beans, In autumn the summer crops are harvested and the gelds plowed once again for the planting of winter wheat. During the cold winter months the family undertakes maintenance work around the farm and inside the farmhouse.