CHANGSHA, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- As the weather turns warmer after the Spring Festival, Li Xinbing, general manager of the Changde Hongfuyuan Agricultural Development Co. Ltd. in central China's Hunan Province, is starting to get worried about his company's over 66 hectares of vegetables.
Located in Shimeitang Township, Dingcheng District of the city of Changde, the company runs a vegetable planting base for Hong Kong and Macao. At present, it is the golden time for spring plowing and sowing. There are still vegetables such as garlic sprouts, coriander and celery in the fields that need to be plucked.
"There is no time to wait for the out-of-town workers to pluck these vegetables," Li said adding that since most of the workers were from the mountainous provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan, they were stranded at home and could not return to their posts due to the outbreak of the epidemic.
As a labor-intensive agricultural production enterprise, if the company is short of labor, not only will the farming season be missed, but the vegetables will get rotten in the fields, resulting in great economic losses.
As the situation became grimmer, Li asked the township government for help. An idea of "sharing farmers," which can solve the company's problem while helping the local farmers find jobs, gave Li hope.
After investigations, Li Yueping, an official of the town, has helped introduce more than 20 local villagers to work on the company's vegetable bases. These villagers can be called share-farmers as they have not been employed by the company but worked for it temporarily under the special situation of the epidemic.
Eight villagers who had been working in local cooperatives joined the plucking work at the vegetable bases due to the delayed opening of their cooperatives. Another 13 villagers whose enterprises in other places have not resumed work also undertook the work of plucking vegetables, which earn them more than 3,000 yuan (428.2 U.S. dollars) per person each month.
Li Xinbing said these local labor forces could come help for about three months, which solves the urgent need of the company.
"Previously, we were worried about our income. Now we can work, and we feel quite relieved," said a villager who works at the vegetable base.
Not far away in Xiejiapu Township, the "shared agricultural machinery" of the Jiufa Agricultural Machinery Service Company is plowing the rice fields.
Recently, Jiufa launched the online service of renting "shared agricultural machinery," and communicated with farmers who need to rent over the phone, WeChat and other non-contact approaches.
After checking the basic information of the farmers who apply to rent, the agricultural machinery will be transported by flatbed truck to the designated location, and the fee will be deducted when they finish the farm work.
"Seeds and fertilizer were ready for use, as we prepared last year, but I cannot go out to rent farm machinery because of the epidemic," said Luo Ming, a villager from Xiachenwan village in the town, who was worried about his 200 hectares of unplowed early-season rice fields.
Deciding to give it a chance, Luo Ming found the "shared agricultural machinery" program online and submitted his ID information and driving license to apply. After paying a deposit of 20,000 yuan through WeChat, he received the agricultural machinery the next day.
According to the company, they now have 48 "shared agriculture machinery" and already signed lease agreements with more than 30 local households who own large-scale agricultural industries. The "non-contact" renting method not only helps the farmers rent agricultural machinery in a timely manner during the spring farming season but also reduces the risk of epidemic transmission caused by crowd gathering.