Sugarcane is an important industrial crop in South China, mainly grown in Guangdong, Guangxi, Yuennan and Fujian Provinces. State farms are important cane producers. They produce about one-tenth of the nation’s total cane. These sugar companies are integrated enterprises including farm and milling activities but, due to declining sugar prices, they are not particularly profitable. Under the “Responsibility system” which is now used on state farms, a large number of small canegrowers are allocated land (average area 1.6 hectares) on which to grow cane which they harvest and transport to a collection area for transport to the mill. Because of their small area and low work efficiency, these canegrowers’ average incomes are very low. Besides the economic problems flowing from lower sugar prices, the state farms are also suffering from labour shortages and many temporary workers have to be employed. The managers of some of the state farm companies believe that the solution to their problems lies in mechanization of canegrowing and harvesting operations. A large investment in Austrlian sugarcane machinery was made by the Guang Qian Sugar Farm in Zhangjiang, Guandong Province, south China in 1997. This paper reports some experiences with the machinery in actual farm production and addresses some of the economic considerations involved in the mechanisation of sugarcane production in China.


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