BEIJING — China is steadily moving towards scale farming with increased use of large machinery and equipment as the government has been pushing for the development of modern agriculture, an official census showed.
By the end of 2016, China had 3.98 million households engaged in scale farming, according to results of the country’s third national agricultural survey.
The number of agricultural businesses came in at 2.04 million, more than five times the number seen a decade ago. The number of farmers cooperatives in China reached 910,000, accounting for 44.6 percent of all agricultural businesses.
Such households and businesses worked on altogether 28.6 percent of the country’s total arable lands by the end of 2016, according to the data.
Accompanying the growth of scale farming is the increasing use of machinery. The survey showed that the number of combine harvesters in China reached 1.14 million, jumping 105.3 percent from a decade ago.
China’s agricultural survey has been conducted every 10 years since 1996 to collect information on rural production, infrastructure, public services and living conditions for future policy guidance.
The third census involved 5 million interviewees, more than 200 million rural households, and over 3 million businesses and other market entities.
While living standards in cities have drastically improved with China’s stellar economic growth, the living environment for the country’s 600 million rural people still has huge room for change.
The results highlighted the weak links in China’s rural development, including a low level of agricultural industrialization and a big urban-rural gap.