Working Tirelessly on Fertile Land

 September 20, 2023

Before she retired, in July this year, Qin Guangwei was Vice-President of Yancheng Academy of Agricultural Sciences (in Yancheng, a city in East China's Jiangsu Province). As an agricultural technician, during the past three decades, she was dedicated to increasing grain production, and also to conserving and improving soil.

While popularizing agricultural techniques among farmers, many rural residents (in Yancheng) grew to accept her as a trustworthy, intimate friend. Given her outstanding achievements, she received many awards throughout the years. For example, she received the National May 1 Labor Medal, and she was named a National March 8th Red-Banner Holder and a National Advanced Worker.

Work Relayed Through Generations

Qin Zhiyi, Qin Guangwei's father, was also an agricultural technician. As a little girl, Qin Guangwei was impressed by her father's deep commitment to his profession, and by his profound love for rural residents and the fertile land. Qin Guangwei was determined, from a young age, to follow in Qin Zhiyi's footsteps.

In 1987, she began working at Yancheng Agricultural and Rural Affairs Bureau, shortly after she graduated from Yancheng Agricultural School, a vocational school dedicated to cultivating rural cadres.


Within a short time, Qin Guangwei was assigned to work at a village in Yancheng. At first, some of the farmers questioned whether she, a delicate, urban woman, could endure the harsh working and living conditions of the rural area. She proved, through her actions, that she was tough enough to handle the work.

While working hard to improve her professional skills, she learned from rural residents' experiences in farming. Gradually, she gained the trust of many farmers, who treated her like a family member.

"Keeping in mind my dad's words, I always treat others with sincerity. As a result, many people, including farmers, have become my intimate friends," says Qin Guangwei.

Her heart has filled with delight every time a farmer has told her that he/she increased grain production or improved the quality of crops and/or fruits by using the scientific and technological knowledge taught by Qin Guangwei in production.

"In recent years, many agricultural technicians have improved their ability to popularize agricultural techniques (among farmers). However, the technicians should conduct investigations in rural areas (across the country), so they can better understand farmers' difficulties in production," Qin Guangwei has been quoted as saying.

Committed to Helping Farmers Live Better Lives

Although Yancheng boasts the largest area of agricultural land in Jiangsu, some of its soil contains much salt, which causes low soil fertility. During the past several decades, Qin Guangwei has remained committed to her original aspiration — helping farmers live better lives. She has also led her colleagues in using modern agricultural techniques to improve Yancheng's soil quality, so farmers can increase their grain production.

Given their persevering efforts, to promote and apply agricultural techniques to improve the soil, the once-unproductive saline-alkali marsh has been transformed into a "granary." As a result, Yancheng has become an important grain-production base in the country.

To help farmers increase grain output, Qin Guangwei stresses agricultural technicians should strive to improve soil quality. She also stresses technicians should use scientific and technological knowledge in production, so they can help farmers improve the quality of their crops. She believes that, in turn, will promote agricultural development.

"Land is alive. Like human beings, it will repay you for the care it receives. However, if you do not treasure and/or protect it, or even do harm to it, land will bring catastrophes to you," says Qin Guangwei.

She was a deputy to the 12th and 13th National People's congresses (NPC). Through investigations, she discovered greater efforts had to be made to protect and improve the quality of farmland. She made several proposals to promote rural revitalization, and to promote the legislation of the Farmland Protection Law.

During the Third Session of the 14th NPC Standing Committee (held in June 2023), the first review of the (Draft) Law of the People's Republic of China on Ensuring Food Security was conducted. "I was gratified to learn the draft contains a chapter for ‘Farmland Protection.' In addition to setting boundaries for urban development, the chapter contains provisions for the redlines of the delineation of farmland, of the preservation of permanent basic farmland, and of the land's ecological protection," Qin Guangwei has been quoted as saying.

She has not only played an important role in both promoting grain production and improving the quality of farmland, but she has also put much effort into helping people around her better understand the importance of food conservation.

As a mother, Qin Guangwei always teaches her daughter, through her words and her actions, and she encourages her daughter to cherish food. She also encourages her relatives and acquaintances to form the good habit of saving food.

"We should save on every grain of food ... Each time we have a meal, we should think of farmers' tremendous efforts to grow grain. So, let's start from now to save food," she says.

Qin Guangwei is still concerned about rural residents' well-being, even though she retired from Yancheng Academy of Agricultural Sciences two months ago. She is always ready to help farmers solve technical problems in their production. "My heart is filled with delight, as I work with farmers (in fields)," says Qin Guangwei.

Throughout the years, Qin Guangwei has performed her duties as an agricultural technician, and she has explored ways to promote agricultural development. "It is my lifelong goal to study how to achieve high grain yield, and how to conserve and improve soil," says Qin Guangwei.


Photos Supplied by Interviewee

(Women of China English Monthly September 2023 issue)


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