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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

小満: Small Plumpness

Today we entered China's eighth solar term, 小満 (xiaoman). This phrase translates literally as "small abundance" and refers to the grains that begin filling out during this time within the growing season.

The Chinese historically refer to Sichuan Province as the "Province of Abundance, " since it acts as one of the nation's major agricultural suppliers. In 1999, Sichuan became the leading provider of grains, including rice and wheat, to the Chinese people. Last year, the province provided 6% of China's total grain output.

The 7.9 earthquake that shook the province earlier this month on May 12 did in fact damage much of the province's agriculture. The quake triggered landslides within Sichuan, damaging 33,333 hectares of farmland, said Wei ChaoAn, China's Vice Agricultural Minister. Despite this fact, Sichuan's decreased output should not greatly effect farm production nationwide. Wei added that he had "full confidence" in the steady national supply of grain and other major products and to keep the prices stable.

Only time will tell.