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Jilin to Play a Bigger Role as National Grain Producer

Weakness in infrastructure facilities and the uneven distribution of water resources are problems that need to be solved in the near future.

To ensure the successful implementation of the grain output growth plan, the provincial government announced it would launch a number of large infrastructure projects involving a total investment of 26 billion yuan.

The projects will range from water conservancy and irrigation, to black soil protection, seedling research and development, ecological protection, and promotion of the use of machinery in the process of grain production.

One of the most important among all the projects will be the Hadashan water control project. Through the project, water diverted from the Nenjiang River will form a wide-ranging irrigation network, basically solving the water shortage problem in west Jilin.

Overwhelming response

The response of local officials and farmers to this plan has been overwhelming.

In a province with a large population engaged in grain production, a direct benefit of the plan is to substantially increase farmers' incomes.

According to Governor Han, the increased grain output is expected to help farmers increase their annual per capita income by 500 yuan.

Wu Jing, the deputy head of Qianguo County in west Jilin, was especially excited by the Hadashan water control project.

"After the completion of the new irrigation facilities, we will have another 20,000 hectares of new farmland in our county. In addition, 66,000 hectares of low-output farmlands will be upgraded. This will lead to an increase of 500,000 tons of grain each year, meaning the farmers' per capita annual income can grow by 1,000 yuan," Wu said.

His optimism was shared by Zhang Hengwen, a farmer in the county.

At present, Zhang's family has 2.5 hectares of paddy fields, which are irrigated by water pumped from deep wells. Using water from the new irrigation channels can save more than 5,000 yuan in pump fuel annually.

"In addition, we can also benefit from other projects like soil and seedling improvements. These will help us improve rice output and quality, adding another 10,000 yuan to our income each year," Zhang said.

Zhenlai, another county in west Jilin, will no doubt be the biggest winner from the water control project.

Zhao Deming, deputy secretary of Zhenlai Committee of the Communist Party of China, estimated that his county will have more than 45,000 hectares of new farmlands. And the area of paddy fields will increase to nearly 100,000 hectares, the largest among all counties in China.

(China Daily October 28, 2008)

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