Monday, February 16, 2009

5 Gifts for Farmers

It looks like China's officials are worried about keeping the farmers happy and making sure they plant their crops this spring.

In Zhejiang Province, farmers are receiving "Five Gifts" from the government: policies, contracts (to purchase grain I guess), technology, farm inputs, and credit. Zhejiang plans to increase rural policy support this year, especially for grain production. The province pledged to increase rural subsidies by 40% in 2009.

One farmer named Zhan reports that on February 9 the vice-governor "gave" him 400 kg of rice seed and a 150,000 yuan line of credit at the local bank. Farmer Zhan expresses appreciation for this love straight from the heart of the communist party and pledges to plant more grain and do a good job at it.

The article describing the "five gift" program says it is calculated to encourage farmers to plant grain in the key period leading up to the time when they will plant their early-harvested rice crop. It notes the pressures from the financial crisis that have made it hard for farmers to find jobs, falling commodity prices, and slow-down in agricultural exports. The program is being trumpeted all over broadcast media, television, newspapers and news sites like the one where this article was found.

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