A farmer driving a harvester works in a paddy field in Xinhua Village of Chongzhou, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Sept. 21, 2022. (Xinhua/Xu Bingjie)
CHENGDU/SHENYANG, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of millions of Chinese farmers celebrated the fifth harvest festival on Friday, as the country expects a bumper harvest despite COVID-19 and extreme weather.
After overcoming the impact of last year's rare autumn floods in the north, late sowing of winter wheat, the sporadic resurgences of COVID-19 cases, and severe heat and drought in some southern regions, China has seen output increases in summer grain and early rice and is expecting another bumper harvest this year.
At an agri-expo park in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, one of the venues of this year's harvest festival celebration, residents from Xinjin District attended several farming-themed activities on Friday morning, such as product exhibitions, ceremonies to award "best-performing farmers," and fitness competitions.
"Thanks to technological advances, I have reaped bumper tangerine harvests and witnessed an increase in annual income these years," said Tan Jing, a participant who owns a tangerine planting area of over 2,000 mu (about 133.33 hectares) in Jinlong Village of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.
For many farmers of breadbasket regions, the looming bumper harvest is hard-won after extreme weather like heat waves, droughts, and flash floods wreaked havoc on agriculture this year.
In Liaoning Province, dubbed one of China's "grain barns," heavy rains in the summer resulted in floods in nine cities, affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
Trying to protect their harvest from extreme weather, more Chinese farmers have turned to technology to improve farming techniques and boost crop yields.
Among them was Sheng Tieyong, who used drones to spray pesticides and fertilizers in his fields. Instead of plows and rakes, eight drones hang on the wall in his yard.
"It is more efficient, more accurate, and faster to use drones," Sheng said.
Sheng told Xinhua that the yield of his rainstorm-hit corn field is expected to reach about 11.25 tonnes per hectare, which remains at the same level as last year, thanks to his drones and other agricultural machinery.
Initiated in 2018, Chinese farmers' harvest festival coincides with the autumnal equinox each year, which is one of the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunar calendar and usually falls between Sept. 22 and 24 during the country's agricultural harvest season.
China's total grain output consists of three parts -- early rice, summer grain, and autumn production. Autumn grain production makes up about 75 percent of the annual grain output. The country aims to achieve a grain output of more than 650 billion kg this year. ■