Farmers in Shandong prepare for spring ploughing season

(| Updated : 2020-02-12

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The busiest time for agricultural work begins in eastern Shandong province. [Photo/]

As the start of spring, the first solar term of the year has passed, the busiest time for agricultural work is beginning in eastern Shandong province, according to local officials.

While the province continues to fight against the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia, it has also begun to prepare for the spring ploughing season to ensure a bumper agricultural harvest in summer.

In a 133.33-hectare potato planting base in Tengzhou's Dawu town, villagers were recently busy planting potatoes -- all wearing masks.

"Now is the best time to plant potatoes in spring. The season waits for no-one, so we organized about 100 villagers to sow seeds after checking their physical health and taking their temperatures," said Liu Hengtao, who is in charge of the local vegetable cooperative.

Liu said that in order to ensure the health and safety of all villagers and to prevent any workplace contagion, the cooperative distributed masks to farmers every day and asked them to work at a distance.

"We plan to grow about 26,666 hectares of greenhouse potatoes this spring and we have finished planting about 85 percent," said Li Guangyao, director of Tengzhou bureau of agriculture and rural affairs.

As the outbreak is posing challenges to logistics, supply and manufacturing operations, many farmers find it difficult to buy seeds and farm machinery. Government departments and agricultural service organizations have offered help.

In Heze's Shanxian county, local government rented transport vehicles to deliver more than 300 households with melon seedlings directly from the breeding base to the fields, to sustain daily operations and curb the spread of the virus.

Local cooperatives also counted up the brands, specifications and quantity of chemical fertilizers, pesticides -- and other agricultural production materials needed by farmers -- through instant messages and then purchased and distributed to them.

Shandong Finsence Agricultural Co has launched online shopping and delivery services for local farmers.

Agricultural specialists and experts have also offered technical guidance and services through live streaming platforms, Weibo, WeChat and other social media.  

Shandong’s authorities said that the over 9,000 agricultural cooperatives in the province were continuing to play a very important role in epidemic prevention and control, as well as boosting farming work.