Fightng the Drought

Source: PEKING REVIEW Vol. IV , No. 32, August 11, 1961

Transcribed for

The bad weather which has been playing havoc with farm crops in many parts of the world has not spared some farmlands in this country. Some areas have been struck by natural calamities for the third consecutive year. Indomitable as ever, the peasants are putting up a stiff fight against all kinds of ill will on the part of Nature. And their strenuous efforts are paying off.

In Hunan in central China more than 2.6 million people are engaged in the battle against drought. By the end of last month some 5 million mu of affected crops had been brought water and were growing healthily again.

Anhwei Province has had little rainfall since the beginning of the year. In the Fuyang Special Administrative Region some 800,000 commune members are out in the fields every day, sowing drought-resistant crops such as potatoes and beans. In Liuan irrigation work takes top priority. Up to last week, more than 90 per cent of the paddyfields there had been watered. In many places more irrigation channels have been dug and more electric pumping and drainage stations built. The Liuan peasants have dug nearly 200 canals and channels and irrigated more than 1.2 million mu during the past few weeks. This has greatly lessened the drought damage.

The people’s communes proved their worth in the fight against natural calamities in the past two years and they are once again showing their strength in the present struggle. Take the Zhoufang People’s Commune in Kiangsi Province for example. Faced with severe drought; the production brigades of the commune got together to solve their irrigation problem by pooling their manpower and equipment in close co-operation. Each production brigade contributes manpower according to its capacity and gets paid for every job of work done. In a matter of days they built and repaired 140 earth dams along the local rivers and dug and repaired over 200 irrigation channels. As a result, 4,000 mu received timely irrigation. The people’s commune was able to take control and plan irrigation over an extensive area and distribute the supply of water to the best advantage. This was unimaginable in the old days when the individual farming co-ops could only operate on a much smaller scale.

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