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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 11:11, December 12, 2005
Traditional agricultural production tools fading out in China's countryside
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Wang Boxue, head of a vet station in Guangming Township of Shaanxi Province, is haunted by a strong feeling of losing his job as fewer villagers have come to him for help in the past months.

"One of the grain production bases in northwest China, the township has 22 villages, and in the past we used to look after nearly 300 livestock," the vet told Xinhua.

"But now people use tractors as their transportation tools and nearly all the agricultural production procedures are mechanized. The horses, donkeys and mules are needed in their daily life on fewer occasions, so that at most time I feel lost," Wang said.

For hundreds of years, the livestock played an irreplaceable role in China's countryside, where there dwell more than 800 million people.

"In the past every village raised livestock. They were not only the indispensable production and transportation tools but also the symbol of fortune and social status," Wang said.

"Yet it is now really rare to see livestock in many villages. Some young people even have never seen a horse," the vet said.

The latest statistics from Shaanxi provincial agricultural department show that the province had more than 500,000 livestock used as transportation and production tools in the 1980s, while the current number has reduced to about 1000.

The livestock that people are raising in the countryside now are primarily milk cows or beef cattle, which are no longer the helpers of agricultural production.

Once the most important production tools in China's vast rural areas, livestock are fading out in agricultural production, replaced by large-scale mechanized production tools.

The modern production tools, in addition to the ongoing agriculture reform, is bringing about the steady enhancement of rural productivity, said an official with the provincial agricultural department.

Shaanxi has held the new and high-tech agriculture expositions for 12 years in a row, reporting an aggregate trade value of 88.1 billion yuan (about 10.9 billion US dollars.)

The new and high-tech in agriculture not only benefits more than 40 million local farmers, but also attracts farming experts from Egypt and Iran.

"China's agriculture and rural areas will face new challenges under the background that the economy of the country as a whole is growing at a tremendous speed," Wang said.

"Though I do not have much work in treating the sick livestock now, our station is shouldering increasing tasks concerning animal epidemic prevention," said the vet.

Source: Xinhua

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