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 Rational Distribution of Food Grain

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Rational Distribution of Food Grain

Source: Peking Review, No. 1,January 3, 1975
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org


    IN socialist New China, whose population numbers roughly 800 million, everyone receives an adequate supply of food grain. This holds good for poor or rich harvest years, town or country, remote forest and pastoral areas or fishing zones. Grain prices remain low and stable all over the country. The days when working people had to go hungry while landlords and capitalists filled their bins to overflowing, hoarded and speculated are but a bitter memory of the past oppression by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism in old China led to extremely low grain outputs and an utterly unreasonable distribution system. Landlords, rich peasants and urban capitalists, who accounted for less than 10 per cent of the population, seized more than half the nations’ food grain while the working people making up more than 90 per cent of the population were left with the remainder, which averaged less than 100 kilogrammes per capita each year. Surveys in north, northwest and central-south China showed that farm labourers and poor peasant:*, who together accounted for more than 60 per cent of the rural population, had to subsist on bran and wild vegetables from four to eight months a year. A bad year forced them to flee the area and go begging; many died of starvation by the roadside. The landlords and capitalists, working hand in glove, cornered the market, drove up grain prices and grabbed huge profits through speculation.
Under the guidance of Chairman Moo's revolutionary line, China's farm production has developed steadily in the past 25 years since liberation. National grain output in 1073 surpassed 250 million tons, more than double the 1949 figure.  With the expansion of production, the work of distribution is taken seriously and carried out well. Immediately after the founding of New China, the Party and the People's Government took effective measures to curb hoarding, speculation and profiteering by unscrupulous dealers. Grain prices, which had been fluctuating for many years, were stabilized by and large within half a year. The policy of unified and planned purchase and marketing of food grain by the state was put into effect by the People's Government in autumn 1953, and this ensured the people in the cities and rural areas a secure life and guaranteed the unobstructed progress of socialist construction.

Planned Purchase and Marketing

  Planned purchase and marketing of food grain by the state is a socialist system of distribution which substitutes a unified, organized grain market for a free grain market. The state purchases grain directly from the producer according to plan and sells it directly to the consumer in fixed quotas and at reasonable prices. This once and for all ends speculation and brings grain distribution completely into the orbit of the state plan.
In supplying food grain to inhabitants of cities, towns and industrial and mining areas, the state adopts the principle of ensuring their needs by allotting fixed quotas based on a graduated scale. These quotas are set according to locality, age and labour Intensity. Workers in heavy industry (e.g. steel, railways, mining and petroleum), where labour intensity is relatively high; receive around 30 kilogrammes a month. This system of supply differs fundamentally from the unreasonable food rationing system of old China which left the labouring people in a stale of semi-starvation as a result of serious grain shortages and disregard of actual consumer needs.

Develop the Economy and Ensure Supplies

The principle guiding the collection of agricultural tax in kind and the purchase of food grain in the rural areas is based on promoting agricultural production and strengthening the collective economy with due regard for the interests of the state, the collective and the individual In levying the agricultural tax and in purchasing grain, the state sees to it that sufficient amounts arc set aside for the peasants' needs and for seed, fodder and other production purposes. To encourage the peasants' enthusiasm for production, the slate adopts the policy of not increasing the tax when output Increases. That is to say, the state stabilizes its grain tax according to the output of a normal year for a certain period of time, say for five years. Within this period, if a production team increases its output, the tax will not be increased, but the state will be able to buy a little more, the collective will add to its reserve, and the commune members will receive more grain. When natural adversity causes a drop in output, the state cases its grain tax accordingly. In case of a serious natural disaster, the state cancels the grain tax and makes no purchases; Instead, It provides grain as needed.
  The state encourages people in forestry, animal husbandry, fishing and industrial crop areas to grow a certain amount of grain while striving for success in their main line of production, and allocates grain from other areas to make up for any deficiency. The state not only guarantees the minority peoples in frontier areas a sufficient supply of grain but helps them vary their diet.
Supplying relief grain to areas stricken by natural calamities was one of the most serious social problems which, throughout China's past history, the ruling classes of successive dynasties were unable to cope with. Though most of the harvests in the 25 years since the founding of New China have been good, there were setbacks In some years resulting from serious natural disasters. Because of China's vast expanse and complex geographical conditions, even in a bumper harvest year drops in output were inevitable in a few areas affected by bad weather. The Party and the People's Government always show great concern for production and the people's livelihood, and they see to it that those in the afflicted areas get enough food. During China's First Five-Year Plan (1953-57), the state provided such areas with 15 million tons of grain. When the worst flood in a century occurred in the Yangtze River valley, the state helped the people in the stricken areas tide over their difficulties in production and everyday life by sending in five million tons of grain from over 20 provinces and regions, including northernmost Heilungkiang, southernmost Kwangtung and Szechuan in the southwest. The people said: "This is the biggest flood in a century, but we have the best government in China's history," The provinces of Hopei, Shantung and Honan, prone to natural disasters over the centuries, received state grain every year until they became self-sufficient. Over ten million tons of grain were sent to Hopei Province alone during 1919-67. with all freight costs borne by the stale. This fully demonstrates the spirit of "co-ordinating the efforts of the whole nation as in a chess game" and demonstrates the superiority of the socialist system.

Store Grain Everywhere

  Following Chairman Mao's instruction to "dig tunnels deep, store grain everywhere, and never seek hegemony," the Chinese people have gradually increased their reserves by using grain in a planned, economical way. While the state has stored a certain amount of grain, many production teams and brigades and peasant households have their own reserves.
  On several occasions the state has raised the purchasing price of grain while keeping the selling price, stable in order to increase the peasants' income and promote farm production. The present purchasing prices are nearly double the 1950 figures, whereas the selling prices have remained stable for more than two decades. The differences between increased purchasing prices and unchanged selling prices are covered by the state, as are all the costs of management including storage and freight.


Source: Peking Review, No. 1,January 3, 1975
Transcribed by www.wengewang.org

  
  
  

 
 
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