Guangdong Farmers Hit by Fake Seeds

July 21, 2011 12:21 pm Last Updated: July 25, 2011 7:21 am

This is supposed to be the summer harvest season for Chinese farmers, but in Longchuan County in Guangzhou, over 1,200 families will have nothing to reap.

According to Guangzhou Daily on July 8, Longchuan village farmers planted 2,609 mu (approximately 430 acres) of “early excellence 336” brand seeds. The 1,500 jin (about 1,380 pounds) of rice seeds were bought from Huangbu town agricultural technology station.

The station’s director said the rice seeds were brought in by the Tongfuliuzhou Agriculture goods purchasing department and this is the first time Huangbu town promoted this brand of seeds.

But when it came time to harvest the rice husks were covered in yellow fungus spots, which reduced germination in large areas or led to no harvest.

According to initial local figures, around 2,609 mu (430 acres) of rice fields had a reduced harvest or simply nothing to harvest; 1,565 mu (258 acres) produced no rice while 1,044 mu (172 acres) had reduced harvest.

It was the latest in a string of fake seed incidents.

On June 22, 68-year-old Beijing resident Xiang Tianmin posted on Phoenix media’s electronic bulletin board that he bought 14 tons of honey locust seeds and 1.2 million honey locust seedlings to be planted on 4,942 acres (30,000 mu) of land in Yutian, Yuanshi, Wuji, Wangdu, and Yi counties in Hebei. Less than 10 percent germinated and produced less than one percent of the expected fruit.

A farmer in Lianyungang, Jiangsu, bought fake watermelon seeds and 1,000 mu (165 acres) of watermelons were hard as rock, causing him severe financial losses, according to Caijing, a business magazine, on June 4.

In one case, a farmer even hung himself after being cheated. Peng Gonglin of Henan Province received fake seeds in 2010, causing large scale crop failure. He was working rented farmland for which he not only had spent all his savings, but for which he had also borrowed money from friends. Attempts to petition local official led to harassment and humiliation, so he killed himself, as reported by a Henan newspaper.

No national statistics are available on the phenomenon, or on the aggregate losses of Chinese farmers.

Read the original Chinese article.