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People’s Daily: Measures to Address Agricultural Labor Shortage

People’s Daily republished an article from Economic Daily discussing how China might resolve its agricultural labor shortage problems. The article said that “the matter of ‘who will farm the land’ is an urgent issue” related to “national food security and rural revitalization.” With a large number of rural laborers migrating to cities, there is a prominent “structural shortage of labor” in rural areas of China. Below are some key ideas from the article.

“The rapid development of mechanization provides impetus for solving this problem. China’s agricultural industry has already realized a basic level of ‘machines replacing human labor.’ … The comprehensive mechanization rate of cultivation and harvesting of crops has reached 73.1 percent nationwide. … China’s agricultural industry is gradually shifting from small-scale household farming to large-scale and intensive development.”

One concept for the development of large-scale agriculture is a large-scale land management (i.e. land consolidation). “Various regions have started exploring [the technique of] ‘consolidating small fields (from different owners) into larger ones.'” Another concept is “large-scale service management, which involves providing fully-managed or semi-managed services to small farmers … who retain control of their land.” The article said that the latter concept “is more realistic for China’s agriculture industry.”

Source: People’s Daily, February 15, 2024