Rural Life in Heilongjiang Province, China
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More images from Heilongjiang
More images from Heilongjiang and Inner Mongolia

Although estimates vary, between 700 and 800 million people live and farm in "rural" China. In Heilongjiang Province, about 25 million people farm some 9 million hectares--or about one acre per person based on an average family size of four people. 

Farm life is hard. Much of the planting is done by hand--although some is mechanized. Harvest of most crops like corn, potatoes and vegetables is all by hand. 

Farming is also far different than in Canada. Farms are small and most of the work is done by hand or with the aid of small tractors or horses. The chap on the left is planting corn with a two-row planter. The family on the right is planting corn in a small field right at the edge of their village. 

The lady on the left is sorting dried corn cobs (from which the kernels have been removed for feed or seed) to use as cooking fuel in her home. The pair on the right are hoeing potatoes in a small farm plot near their village. 

Farm families live in tens of thousands of small farm villages--they don't live on their farm plots. Each day they walk, or drive to their fields, typically 1 to 2 km away. The average "farm" size in Heilongjiang in NE China is about 3 to 5 acres. 

Main roads through villages are often busy with people. Many days there are markets where people come to shop for daily food supplies and other goods. Most villages have one or more restaurants with a varied fare. 
All manner of vehicles are used to transport people and goods to and from villages to fields or to the next village or town. 

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