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China ramps up efforts to reduce grain losses

Xinhua, June 07, 2023
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A farmer works in a field at Longzui Village of Feixi County, east China's Anhui Province, April 26, 2023. (Photo by Chen Jiale/Xinhua)

HEFEI, June 7 (Xinhua) -- With the start of the summer wheat harvest in east China's Anhui Province, the provincial authorities have emphasized the need to minimize grain losses at every stage of the process.

About 200,000 harvesters are expected to participate in the summer harvest across Anhui, which is home to about 2.87 million hectares of wheat fields.

Anhui has strengthened efforts to improve its harvesting operations and achieved solid results in recent years. The province achieved a wheat harvest loss rate of less than 2 percent last year.

Various activities aimed at reducing grain losses were held across the province.

Wang Guang, a skilled farm machinery operator, won a wheat machinery harvesting competition held in the city of Fuyang, boasting an impressively low wheat loss rate of only 0.33 percent.

"It is crucial to thoroughly inspect and maintain your harvester before heading to the farm, replacing any vulnerable parts in time. During the harvesting process, one must adjust the speed appropriately based on the thinness of the wheat," Wang said.

"We have organized 29 grain-loss reduction activities, including publicity campaigns and training sessions, with more than 5,600 farm machinery operators participating," said Wu Jing, director of Fuyang's agricultural machinery development center.

Through those activities, farmers have learned how to choose better tools and the best harvesting time. They have also paid more attention to the crop height and the reaping speed. All of those factors can help reduce the grain losses, Wu said.

The loss rate of machine harvesting in Fuyang is currently controlled at about 1 percent, which is expected to lead to a reduction in grain losses of more than 35 million kg, Wu noted.

In addition to the harvesting stage, attention is also focused on minimizing losses during transportation and storage.

"An increasing number of farmers choose to work with standard logistics companies. These companies meticulously seal every crack in the truck before loading the grain, and they cover the grain with canvas during transportation, in a bid to reduce losses along the route," said Fang Qin, deputy general manager of a local farm company.

At Fang's company, grain trucks need to be weighed once after loading and weighed again before unloading, with no more than 50 kg of grain loss allowed from a 30-tonne truck.

Last year, an advanced grain depot was put into use in Anhui's Funan County, built with materials providing excellent heat insulation, waterproofing and moistureproofing, and equipped with an intelligent management system capable of automatically monitoring the temperature and adjusting the ventilation. The new grain depot has achieved significant reductions in grain losses during the storage process.

"Those new technologies can help ensure both the quality and quantity of the grain," said Yu Honghong, who works for the grain depot.

The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said that the country has been making efforts to upgrade and reconstruct its grain reserve facilities. More eco-friendly cold storage facilities for grain are expected to be built in the future.  ■