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Working the land becomes less arduous as automation rate rises

China Daily,February 28, 2019 Adjust font size:

In the 1980s, agricultural mechanization gained momentum in China, and farming became more productive than ever before thanks to machines that plowed the ground, planted seeds and performed other tasks. They quickly became everyday tools for many farmers.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China was home to more than 2,500 agricultural machinery businesses last year, and the national mechanization rate for crop cultivation and harvesting topped 67 percent. The country's agricultural production is now mainly done by machines, which have replaced manual labor.

An Uber-like mobile app developed by Lovol Heavy Industry Co, a major Chinese agricultural machinery business, enables farmers to rent equipment.

"It's like hailing a taxi. My boy taught me how to use new farming technologies like this," said Lyu, whose son has returned from a large city to help on the family farm.

Lyu said a growing number of young people are returning to the countryside to help their families. They are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and the development of agricultural machinery means farming is no longer backbreaking work.

According to Liang Qirong, Party chief of Lovol Heavy Industry, China's agricultural machinery sector is "big, but not strong", and it is moving toward high-quality development to improve competitiveness in the whole industrial chain.

Zhang Qingjin, director of the Institute of Agricultural Development at the Shandong Academy of Social Sciences, said the country's agricultural machinery industry is evolving quickly, exemplifying the development of agriculture, rural areas and farmers' livelihoods.

Lyu said farming has become easier as the agricultural mechanization rate has risen. Now, he hopes his son will eventually take over the farm and enjoy the lifestyle.

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