Farmers in NE China prepare for spring plowing amid Omicron surge
Guan Yang
A view of the Yongji County in Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province, April 5, 2022. /CGTN

A view of the Yongji County in Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province, April 5, 2022. /CGTN

Northeast China's Jilin Province, one of the country's major grain producers, has ushered in this year's spring sowing season with comprehensive farming preparations, despite COVID-19 restrictions being in force to control a major Omicron outbreak in the region.

Sun Changzhu is a distributor of seeds and fertilizer in Yongji County in Jilin City, Jilin Province. He's just made a zero-contact delivery to farmers. Local authorities have adjusted pandemic control measures to ensure transportation of agricultural materials needed for spring sowing.

"All the orders for seeds and fertilizer were placed online. Thanks to the green channel for agricultural materials, our stockpile is sufficient, and the delivery of essential plowing materials is not affected," Sun told CGTN on Wednesday.

Strong growth in e-commerce is changing the way Chinese farmers produce, and this has become more evident during the pandemic. Spring plowing needs labor, seeds, fertilizer and machinery, which all need to be assigned within a limited time frame. Local governments in the city of Jilin are trying to keep the negative impact of pandemic control measures to a minimum.

"Big data enables us to manage supply and demand for agricultural materials," said Chen Jinfeng, who works in Yongji County's agricultural office. "From online ordering to point-to-point transportation, the whole process is carried out in an orderly manner."

Neighboring Liaoning Province has also had several outbreak clusters, and it's also turning to digital solutions to avoid disruptions in spring plowing. For instance, cultivation training and signing of land transfer contracts have been done online.

"It's just as important for us to not miss the spring plowing season as it is to implement strict epidemic prevention measures. Preparation for plowing is drawing to an end, and work on our farm is going according to plan," said Zhao Yuguo, the farm manager of Cainiu Farm in Liaoning.

The COVID-19 epidemic situation in Jilin Province, which has reported more than 60,000 positive cases in the recent wave, is still worsening despite some positive signs of decline in parts of its capital Changchun and nearby city Jilin. 

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