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年过半百,经历坎坷.少年遇"文革",下乡八载,虽历经磨难,唯斗志不减,农耕间隙自学不辍,终守得云开日出,考进大学.大学毕业后先后经历了中学执教,国企管理,外企高管,最后回归重执教鞭.目前在家精心培养有志掌握英语的中小学生. 我最大的愿望就是看到孩子学有所成,桃李天下.

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我新发表的文章《粮食自给至关重要》  

2014-01-06 09:16:48|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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前言:对于中国这样一个人口大国来说,粮食基本自给的国策是绝不能动摇的。对于逐步富裕的中国人来说,粮食自给已经不仅仅只是大米小麦的问题,而是意味着猪牛羊肉,牛奶以及种类繁多的加工食品,13亿(估计早就已经14亿)人的庞大需求如果指望外国人来满足无异于痴人说梦。当然,粮食自给并不意味着百分百自给(这已经不可能了)或所有产品自给。但确保在极端情况下(如战争,特大自然灾害等),国人能有基本食粮保证是永远不能动摇的政策。如果像茅于轼或一些自由派经济学家宣扬的那样:不必死守18亿亩粮食用地的红线;在自由贸易情况下,不必担心粮食供应,中国恐怕早已麻烦重重了。幸亏中国不是由一些只会耍嘴皮子的所谓“经济学家”治国。

Self-sufficiency of food paramount

 

Wu Guangqiang 

FOR thousands of years, the Chinese people have had an adamant conviction in the saying: “min yi shi wei tian,” which means that food is to humans what the sky is to the earth. 

Hardly had any ruler in China’s long history managed to feed the huge population until the adoption of the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s. Filling a hungry stomach was such urgency for common people that the greetings in people’s daily meetings have always been about food, for instance, “Have you had your meal yet?” is basically the cultural translation of “How are you?” 

The history of agricultural development is an integral part of China’s history. In this sense, a lack of knowledge about the history of China’s agriculture will make one’s knowledge of China incomplete. 

China’s development of farming dates back to as early as 7500 B.C. with classical millet agriculture. It is estimated that the earliest attested domestication of rice took place in China by 7500 B.C. Excavations at Kuahuqiao, the earliest known Neolithic site in Xiaoshan, Zhejiang Province of eastern China, have documented rice cultivation 7,700 years ago. Finds at the ruins of the Hemudu Culture in Yuyao, Zhejiang, and Banpo Village near Xi’an, Shaanxin Province, which both date back 6,000 to 7,000 years, include rice, millet and spade-like farm tools made of stone and bone. 

Many ingenious inventions or improvements in agricultural instruments and skills originated in China, one of which was use of cast iron tools and beasts of burden to pull plows adopted during the Spring and Autumn Period (722-481 B.C.). Another major contribution to agricultural development was the large-scale harnessing of rivers and the development of water conservation projects, of which the most famous is the Dujiangyan Irrigation System in Sichuan Province. 

For all their diligence and intelligence, however, Chinese farmers had been unable to feed themselves, let alone the non-farming population. It was due to several factors, primary ones including a severe shortage of arable land, backward farming methods and facilities, scattered production organizational structure, and above all, the feudal land ownership before the founding of the People’s Republic. Farmers’ good harvests were at the mercy of the weather and, therefore, farmers led a precarious life. Famine and its consequent massive death tolls were frequent. 

The land reform after the founding of the PRC destroyed feudal land ownership, unleashing farmers’ pent-up zeal for agricultural production. But unfortunately, extreme-leftist ideology raged in China in the years before the late 1970s when the reform and opening up began, severely damping the development of agriculture. Farmers were forbidden to grow any crops or raise any animals of their own; they were forced to work in the fields of the so-called people’s communes. As a result, with scant food supply, every Chinese household had to live on strictly rationed food. 

The epic changes in agriculture and other sectors in China is now a world-renowned story. The world’s largest population is being well-fed with inconceivable varieties of food products. 

The general population has taken having enough to eat for granted, so few anticipate risks in agriculture. Some academics even sneer at the warning against a potential food shortage or other food-related crises in special circumstances. A famous liberal economist even appeals to the State for the abolishment of the “red line,” referring to China’s policy of maintaining minimum 1.8 billion mus (120 million hectares) of arable land for grain cultivation. A prevalent de-agricultural idea is that sufficient food supply is guaranteed in a world of free trade, so sticking to low productive agriculture is unnecessary. 

Nothing can be more naive than this nonsense. The recently concluded central rural work conference has again underscored the government’s concern about food self-sufficiency and food safety. As Party chief Xi Jinping put it, “In the event of famine, even money can help little.” 

Of course, strengthening agriculture is about much more than food supply. As per the statement of the conference, “a strong, beautiful and rich China depends on an equally strong, beautiful and rich countryside.”

 

(The author is an English tutor and a freelance writer.)

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