The time for spring ploughing and production is around the corner. The agricultural mechanization departments in various places of Hubei province have exerted the utmost effort to deploy and actively mobilize staff members. The departments have made various arrangements to ensure smooth agricultural production.
The first emphasis of the development program is agricultural machinery training and overhauling to guarantee spring ploughing. At present, the whole province has trained 49,000 agricultural machinery operators, overhauled 110,000 units (sets) of agricultural equipment, and maintained over 3,700 pump stations. By March 2012, Hubei will finish training 2 million agricultural machinery operators and repair 3 million sets of agricultural equipment to be put into production. Operators will receive general or rotational training.
The second emphasis is prioritized and preferential oil supply to guarantee spring ploughing. Currently, agricultural mechanization departments around the province have successively signed an oil supply agreement with oil departments on serving rural areas and farmers. The oil suppliers have issued privileged oil supply cards to operators to ensure oil consumption during the spring ploughing and farming preparations. For instance, Xiaogan city has handed out 30,000 oil supply cards to its operators and guaranteed oil for agricultural production when there are acute shortages of oil plants. A preferential policy of 0.1 yuan/liter will be offered for agricultural production when oil plants are sufficient.
The third emphases are machinery purchase subsidizations. This year, the central government plans to appropriate 660 million yuan to Hubei province as an agricultural machinery purchase subsidy. The distribution proposal has been submitted to the provincial government for approval and the subsidy amount was announced to all counties (cities and districts) before the Spring Festival. Thus far, the preparations for agricultural machinery purchase subsidizations have made steady progress and the subsidy is planned to be officially distributed by the end of February to meet the need of farmers.
The fourth emphasis is agricultural machinery contracts to guarantee spring ploughing. Since 2012, agricultural mechanization departments have taken the initiative to inform farmers of agricultural machinery and strengthen machinery scheduling. They have also organized influential agricultural machinery families, agricultural machinery service teams, special cooperatives and other machinery-based organizations. The departments have visited households without agricultural machinery during the winter and spring to sign agricultural machinery contracts. Coordinated-process (plowing, sowing and harvesting) contracted services and trans-regional tractor-ploughing, tractor-transplanting, and tractor-harvesting operations have also been encouraged. At the moment, Hubei has signed 200,000 contracts with an area of more than 6 million mu. It is estimated that in late March, the province will finalize 800,000 agricultural machinery contracts, covering an area of over 20 million mu.
The fifth emphasis is to popularize agricultural machinery technologies to guarantee spring ploughing. So far this year, agricultural mechanization departments have launched a total of 52 activities designed to deliver agricultural machinery technologies to villages and households, and published over 300,000 copies of promotional material. They have also showcased more than 21,000 units (sets) of new agricultural machines and tools, including rice planters, combine harvesters, wheeled tractors, tea-leaf pickers, crop protection aircrafts and farm-oriented excavators to 530,000 spectators. In addition, they have promoted ten technologies for energy conservation, emissions reduction, efficient crop protection and husbandry. Innovations have also been encouraged for aquaculture and agricultural machinery maintenance. New agricultural mechanization technologies such as water-saving irrigation and water-fertilizer integration have also been promoted. The subsidy threshold and prioritized subsidy for key implements including rice planters and rape seed-sowing machines have been raised to ensure the cultivation of staple crops in areas.