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Farmers Developing Water-Saving Cultivation
Farmers in northeast China are changing their traditional way of cultivation due to the increasing shortage of water resources.

In Zhuanghe of Liaoning Province, northeast China, a place famous for its high-quality rice, farmers are transforming paddy field into dry land to plant corn or other dry-land cereals.

“Cultivation becomes more complicated now as we have to consider not only the market demand, but also limited water resources,” said a local farmer.

Officials say some 10,000 hectares of paddy field in Zhuanghe city will be transformed into dry land for spring sowing this year to ensure water supply for residents of Dalian.

Zhuanghe is under the jurisdiction of Dalian, a coastal city with a population of 2 million, where severe shortage of water has forced the local government to close down over 300 sauna bathes and inflict extremely high fines for those who over-use water.

Although the transformation of land means a decrease in income by one-fourth, local farmers, conscious of environmental protection today, have responded actively to the government move to protect water resources.

Officials in Zhuanghe believe that the farmers’ understanding is also backed by the development of science and technology, which has offered them more choices for cultivation. Many farmers, at the same time, have considered this transformation another chance to make money by growing marketable crops.

According to a senior official with the Liaoning provincial government, half of the paddy field in the province is likely to suffer from water shortages this year, which may cause a severe decrease in rice output.

However, the change of paddy field into dry land, as is done in Zhuanghe, will not affect the farmers’ income much, he said.

(People’s Daily 05/28/2001)

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