With harvest festival, China eyes more than bumper harvests

By: XinhuaFrom:English Edition of Xinhua | Updated: 2019-Sep-24 09:47
text size: T | T

BEIJING, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's harvest festival for farmers is not a typical holiday where people put aside their work for recreation. Instead, it is part of a busy harvesting season which usually begins around the autumnal equinox and lasts about a month.

Chinese farmers did not have their own festival until last year when the state designated autumnal equinox as a special day to celebrate grain harvests annually.

As the festival fell on Monday, many villages held folk activities to set off the festive atmosphere. A new TV channel was formally launched by the China Central Television station, focusing on agriculture and rural news.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, extended greetings to farmers and people working in agriculture and rural areas Monday and congratulated on the formal launch of the channel.

"With a solid foundation laid by agriculture, we have full confidence in development," Xi said, calling on the public to pay more attention to agriculture, care for the countryside and farmers, and contribute to poverty alleviation, reform and development in agriculture and the countryside as well as the realization of rural vitalization.

For decades, affairs relating to agriculture, rural development and farmers have been on the top agenda of the Chinese government, as it has never been easy to feed a population as large as China's.

Since New China was founded in 1949, China's population ballooned from 540 million to nearly 1.4 billion. Meanwhile, its per capita grain possession jumped from 209 kg to 470 kg, a level much higher than the world's average.

Although China's economic output has become the world's second largest, there were still more than 16 million people, mostly in rural areas, stuck in poverty at the end of last year.

Without agricultural modernization, rural prosperity and well-educated farmers, the goal of achieving common affluence will be unrealistic. It's fair to say the toughest tasks to accomplish are in rural areas.

In his latest inspection tour to Henan Province, a major grain production base in central China, Xi urged solid efforts in implementing the strategy of rural vitalization, advance the supply-side structural reform in agriculture and grasp grain production as core competitiveness.

With 7 percent of the world's arable land, China has about 20 percent of the world's total population. At present, more than 90 percent of the rice, wheat and corn it consumes are domestically produced.

In this sense, rural prosperity and bumper harvests are no small things for China. The country's agricultural development is vital not only for itself, but also for the world at large.