Wheat harvesting season approaches in northern China. However, in locations like Henan and Hebei, young wheat plants are being harvested for animal feed.
Several videos of young wheat seedlings harvesting have recently gone viral on the Internet. The video shows that the entire green-looking wheat crop has been cut. However, there are only about 20 days left before the full-scale harvesting begins.
The incident has sparked heated discussion among netizens. Many people said that farmers delayed planting because of the epidemic’s impact. As a result, selling green wheat is one way to prevent losses.
However, there are two other primary reasons behind harvesting young wheat.
First, farmers sell young wheat to get more money
A netizen disclosed that a drop in feed imports from Europe and the U.S. has led to a jump in domestic feed costs in China. Therefore, feed manufacturers buy immature wheat from rural areas and sell it as animal feed.
In a video posted by a woman on Douyin, she said that young wheat is sold nearly twice as much in volume as mature wheat. She blamed the regime for not taking care of the farmers. The Chinese government does not subsidize grain prices. She added that farmers take responsibility when the crop is affected by disasters and the harvest is reduced.
Sina Finance said that if mature wheat prices were higher than young wheat, farmers wouldn’t sell young wheat. As the price of wheat is too low, they cannot get the same income as the labor they pay.
Li Guoxiang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, explains the difference in revenues.
He said that the annual income of 660 m2 of mature wheat is about 430 dollars. After deducting the cost, the net income per 660 m2 is only around 50 dollars.
With an area of 660 m2 of green wheat, farmers can collect nearly about 300 dollars.
So, farmers chose to sell young wheat. They get higher benefits as well as saving time and labor.
Therefore, for farmers not to sell young crops, the key is to rebuild the grain price mechanism to protect farmers’ interests.
Second, forced land acquisition destroyed farmers’ mature wheat
On May 14, villagers in the western suburbs of Yindu District, Anyang City, Henan Province, complained that a gas pipeline laid by a company had destroyed their soon-to-ripen wheat. The damaged area spans more than 6,500 m2, which is larger than a football field.
On May 7, the Yuanshi County Government issued an investigation team to deal with the issue.
According to the investigation, the plot in question comprises 24,000 m2 with 2,900 m2 of wheat. The project party privately arranged for machines to enter the field on April 27 without informing authorities or farmers, crushing almost 800 m2 of wheat. Yuanshi County has responded by ordering the developer to halt development and holding those responsible accountable.
In a similar way, a farmer’s wheat was destroyed in Shaanxi province.
On May 22, Zhao Moumou, a resident of Donglu Village, Weinan City, Shaanxi Province, reported that a construction team destroyed his near-ripe wheat on the evening of April 19.
In the video, wheat ready to ripen on 4000 m2 (about 1 acre) of land looks completely flattened with long trails. Without consensus, the construction team illegally destroyed 530 m2 of wheat fields.
On the 23rd, after investigating, the Pucheng District Public Security Bureau confirmed that the wheat field was destroyed to build a road before negotiating and signing the contract. However, the land belongs to the Zhao family. The construction team leader was detained for 7 days as punishment.
There have also been cases of real estate developers damaging wheat fields. According to media reports, a developer in Yuanshi County, Hebei Province, dispatched a forklift at night to shovel the earmarked and grained wheat.
Some villagers in Xingtang, Hebei Province, China, are complaining about the forced destruction of their soon-to-ripen wheat fields.
Residents have shared their stories with mainland media “Upstream News.” They said that in April, a construction team consisting of dozens of people forcibly leveled more than 65,000 m2 of wheat fields. Residents tried to defend their fields but could not. At present, a power plant construction has begun in their flattened fields.
After the incident, villagers recalled that some people had been the previous year, saying they would occupy the contracted land to build a photovoltaic power generation project.
In April, the construction project staff came and mobilized the villagers to hand over the land. They said they would remove the well-growing wheat fields to build photovoltaic power plants. Some villagers refused.
A villager told Upstream News that less than one-third of the people in the village were willing to sign lease contracts.
The villagers also said some farmers had only signed the land lease contracts after being threatened. They did not sign it voluntarily.
They wanted to grow food on their land, to have something to eat. The residents pointed out that most residents did not sign the contract. Not many people signed it.
Villagers said it was very distressing to see all the wheat about to ripen flattened by the construction team. One villager said the wheat had already bloomed and would be harvested in about a month. But, construction staff forcibly leveled it with machines. During the land occupation conflict, three local people were injured.
Some residents said that the local government used loudspeakers to announce that someone was willing to sign the contract. However, the residents said that they were not willing to do so.
Villagers said that the loudspeakers event showed that the local authority was somehow involved in the forced land acquisition.
Under the Chinese communist regime, farmers were the weakest class and their rights were not protected.