CEF and Circle of Blue Launch Choke Point: China Part II

  • Jun 4, 2012

In China, Every Square Meter Counts

Circle of Blue’s senior editor wraps up his first of three weeks reporting in the field from China, finding a wealth of promise in fields of golden wheat.

XIN XIANG, Henan Province — The fields of Henan Province, one of the important centers of global wheat production that is located in east-central China, spread beyond this city’s high-rises, a prairie of dusky grain in every direction to the horizon. Every mu — a Chinese measurement of land expanse equal to about 270 square meters (or 7 percent of an acre) — is taken with ripening wheat.

The harvest has begun. Workers cut stalks with long blades and haul the wheat out of the fields on their backs. The streets serve as long, linear threshing tables as farmers spread the straw and seed heads on the just-built broad boulevards, relying on trucks and cars to roll over the piles. Then, with pitchforks, men and women stab hard at the crumbled piles and toss the grain high in the air, the wind carrying the bits of straw away from the seeds.