Harvesting wheat in a village on the Loess Plateau. The fine silty soil here was deposited by desert winds over thousands of years, and the silt was then carved into terraces for agriculture. The crop mix here has been shifting away from wheat as farmers make more money growing corn, and the newest trend is a government program to plant the terraces in fruit trees, which did not seem very well looked after. The wheat is primarily harvested by hand, using something like a weed-whacker to cut the stalks which are then tied in bundles to dry before threshing at home for family consumption. Corn is the cash crop.
Farming on terraces like this is labor-intensive, and farmers are finding them hard to maintain as children migrate to the cities for higher-paying jobs. With a very low amount of arable land per capita, China struggles to feed itself.
- ©2016 George Steinmetz
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