The Chinese Farmland
Perhaps one of the most fascinating segments of our trip to China was a small side trip to the Chinese farmland. It as only an additional $20 per person for a 2 hour tour of the farmland. At first, I was quite skeptical but those fears were quickly doused.
The location of this farmland was in Yangshuo China which was located in the southeastern part of China. They said it snows in Yangshuo but we were there in the heat of the summer. This part of China is truly spectacular. These are these very large rock formations that are nestled in the country side. Most of these rocks are rather large and the size of mini mountains. It is called a rock climbers paradise because there are so many of these structures. From my standpoint, it made for some of the best photos that I have ever taken. Hope you like the slide show.
On top of that, I learned so much about the Chinese culture and government through this simple trip. Unlike the hustle and bustle of Beijing and Shanghai, the Chinese farmer lives a simple and uncomplicated existence. They have running water and electricity. Everyone has access to a television, and more recently almost every farmer has a cell phone. The internet however has not yet found its way to this small village near Yangshuo.
Shelter is provided by the government, and everyone had ample food and clothing. The housing is very basic, and does not have air conditioning nor heating despite the fact that it can get quite cold in this area. I was surprised to see the variety of food that they harvest from this land. They grow rice, soy bean, black bean, wheat, and more fruits than I can remember. The farmers are productive parts of Chinese society.
Let’s be clear that the people are in these photos are farmers that are supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, but they are also models. All tourism in the country is controlled by the Ministry of Tourism including the tour that I was on. More importantly, these farmers are part of the tour, and a small part of their compensation is also from being “models” in these tours for foreigners. Wow!
At one point in the tour, they gave us a demonstration of how rice is harvested. I had no idea, but each rice granule has a little husk that must be removed before it can be eaten. This is a very manual process although some basic machinery has been provided by the government. Here’s the kicker and this thought blew me away. The tour guide stated that the govenrment was aware that the farmer’s productivity was not growing at the same rate as the rest of the economy. After all, China has essentially become the world’s manufacturer for very consumable good in the world from electronics, furniture and everything in between. So the tour guide stated that the government planned to transition many of the labor intensive crops such as rice to poorer nations such as Malaysia. That is right, China is planning to begin importing rice in order to further increase the productivity of their population.
Whether you agree with the Communists or not, the Chinese have a plan and a vision to become the largest and most prosperous nation on earth. They are executing on this plan, and China is growing in wealth and productivity each and every day. It is stunning to see and I learned all of this in a little farm in Yangshuo provence.