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Back to the land

By Yang Guang  (China Daily)

09:10, June 27, 2012

Yuan Songsong works in the hybrid rice fields of Jiujiang, Jiangxi province.(China Daily/Hu Guolin)

A former office worker, who returned to farm in his hometown, is one of the few examples of reverse migration. Yang Guang reports in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province.

While millions of rural workers are migrating to urban centers, Yuan Songsong has done the opposite. The 34-year-old quit his job as secretary of a public security bureau in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and returned to his hometown of Jiujiang in Jiangxi province to seek his fortune farming.

"It was not easy for a rural youngster like me to land a (public service) job," he says. "But I still burned with the desire to return and become wealthy by growing rice."

Yuan didn't make the decision on a whim, as he knew that if farming was approached the right way it would succeed.

After graduating from senior high school, Yuan served in the army for three years. In 2000, he finished his military service and joined his fellow migrant workers in venturing to big cities and did various jobs, such as factory worker and security guard.

Even so, he always paid attention to the development of rural areas. "I found that rural youngsters rarely wanted to stay in the countryside," Yuan says. "It's such a pity that so much land is left uncultivated."

In 2004, he read a newspaper report about the research findings of Yuan Longping, an agricultural scientist known as the "father of Chinese hybrid rice species". He started writing letters to Yuan Longping, expressing his concerns and asking for suggestions.

"Since Yuan Longping has made such great contributions to solving food shortage problems in China, I figured he could also play an important role in improving the current situation in rural areas," he says.

Yuan Songsong was invited to take part in a China Central Television show in 2008, when he discussed the situation with Yuan Longping and other agricultural scientists and representatives from rural areas. He asked whether Yuan Longping could help if he introduced hybrid rice species to his village and established a production base. Yuan Songsong checks whether hybrid rice seeds in storage have gone bad.

Yuan Longping's encouragement strengthened his resolve to return to his hometown, but it was Jiangxi province's Party secretary Su Rong, who helped him make his final decision.

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