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China looks abroad for greener pastures
China looks abroad for greener pastures

BEIJING — When Ma Wenfeng was a boy, his father earned so little money growing wheat and corn that the family mainly ate mantou, a steamed bread that is a staple of the poor. The last thing he would have dreamed of was becoming a farmer. Now it is his greatest ambition to start a farm, but not in China, a country where the very word for "farmer," nongmin, is synonymous with "peasant." Many Chinese farmers are long past retirement age but still tilling tiny, inefficient plots of land. Motivated by the search for big expanses of land with abundant supplies of clean water, Chinese are looking far afield — to the United States, Chile, Brazil, Russia,...