A disaster may be a temporary concern for bystanders, but it may become a real “disaster” for those who are in it.
Two months have passed since the rain disaster in Henan Province, but for Gu Sanyu, the flood has passed and it is hard to get through.
Gu Sanyu lives in Dazhou Town, Changge City, Henan Province. In 2014, he contracted 80 mu of land in the village to grow grapes. He said that he had sold fruits when he was young, and he was familiar with the industry and had a market. As he grows older, he cannot keep up with his physical strength when he goes out to work. He believes that the profit of growing grapes is higher than that of crops.
The significant difference between planting grapes and other crops is that it takes three years to grow grapes. In the past three years, Gu Sanyu spent a total of 2.5 million yuan to raise seedlings. He paid 1.5 million yuan and borrowed 1 million yuan. This 1.5 million yuan is almost all his savings. Fortunately, starting in 2020, the vineyards will become profitable, and it is no longer a loss-making business that only goes out and does not enter.
But the good times didn’t last long. In May of this year, there was a hailstorm in the area, smashing many ripe grapes in Gu Sanyu’s house. That time, Gu Sanyu cried looking at the grape leaves and fruits that had been damaged by the hail. Fortunately, the investment cost was not high at that time. The expenditure on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, watering and manpower just cost 20,000 yuan. In addition, ten days after the hail, the growth of the grapes gradually recovered, and Gu Sanyu felt a little relieved.
Unexpectedly, the grapes suffered a fatal blow two months later. In July, Henan was hit by heavy rains, and local crops and factories were damaged to varying degrees. In the upper reaches of Gusanyu Vineyard, there is a stainless steel processing plant. The rain water flows down upstream, and when it recedes, it leaves the oily substance in the vineyard.
“I’m not afraid of water, I’m afraid that six years of hard work will be destroyed.”
The tree is dead and sad.
In 2014, Gu Sanyu purchased 40,000 grape saplings at a time of 100,000 yuan, and contracted 80 acres of land in the village at a price of 900 yuan per acre per year. The contract period was 20 years, and only the land rent was paid for one year. 72,000 yuan. The annual expenditure for hiring workers is between 100,000 and 150,000 yuan, and the annual cost of spraying medicine and watering is about 50,000 yuan.
The vines are difficult to raise. Every May, workers have to tie wire to the vine, otherwise a large branch of the vine will break. At the busiest time, Gu Sanyu’s vineyard employs 10-20 workers every day, and can tie up one trip in a day (one trip for 70 meters). There are a total of 400 trips to the vineyard, with a daily salary of 80 yuan per person. When the leaves fall in October every year, Gu Sanyu will hire the same manpower to cut off the wire. In the words of Gu Sanyu, “it’s very troublesome.”
The first three years of the vines were not fruitful. In the fourth year, the vineyards had income and barely evened the costs. It was not until the sixth year (2020) that they began to make profits.
In order to support the operation of the vineyard, Gu Sanyu borrowed 1 million yuan from the private sector. The monthly interest is basically about one and five cents. Based on this calculation, he needs to repay 180,000 yuan in interest every year.
Originally, Gu Sanyu expected a good grape harvest at home this year. Xiahei is the most cultivated grape variety in Gujia, with 35-36 mu planted, with a yield of 4000-5000 jin per mu, and the wholesale price is around 2.4 yuan per jin. According to the plan, Xiahei will mature on July 20 and has sold for 1,000 yuan before the flood. Jufeng is not yet mature, but according to previous years, it can be sold in August. This year, the output of Gu’s Jufeng is 5,000-6,000 jin per mu, and the output is increasing year by year. If it is a Kyoho vine that is more than ten years old, the yield per mu can even reach 8,000 jin. The price of Jufeng fluctuates every year. The year before last year it could sell for 2.6 yuan to 2.7 yuan per catty, and last year it was sold for 1.5 yuan to 1.6 yuan. Sunshine Rose is the most expensive variety of grapes planted by the Gu family. It is planted on 4 acres, with a yield of 3,000 catties per mu. The wholesale price per catty reaches 12 yuan, and the profit per acre of land is 20,000 yuan.
According to Gu Sanyu’s wife, they are not expensive, and their master’s wholesale price even reaches 18.5 yuan per catty. Last year, they left 4 acres of Sunshine Roses. This year they planned to continue to build a greenhouse and expand the Sunshine Roses to 6 acres. Gu Sanyu’s wife said that sunshine rose scent must reach the standard before it can be sold at a price. The sunshine rose they planted last year is big and scented, and the price is good.
But a heavy rain made Gu Sanyu’s plan ruined. Now, it’s time to pay the land rent again. If you don’t pay the land rent, the village will take back the contracted land, which means you will have nothing. According to the rules, the wages of the workers who came to help were cleared for half a month without credit. Now the Gu family can only owe the wages of these workers, plus the land rent, Gu Sanyu still owes 150,000 to 160,000 yuan.
Land rent, workers’ wages, interest, these expenses are not the heaviest stone in Gu Sanyu’s heart. Even this year’s harvest he can be “not so concerned about”. He is not afraid of water. This year’s harvest will be less, and he will pay for it next year. Can be replanted. But this time, he was afraid that six years of hard work would be ruined, because he did not know whether the upstream water contained harmful substances, whether his 80 acres of land could continue to be cultivated, and he was even more afraid that the soil would be poisonous. .
Don’t dare to sell, “afraid of eating people to death”
On July 20, Zhengzhou suffered an extremely heavy rain. In the following days, precipitation occurred successively in Henan Province, and many areas began to accumulate water due to precipitation and upstream flood discharge. Dazhou Town, Changge City is one of the flood storage and detention areas. After the flood was discharged through the Foergang Reservoir, the flood converged all the way to low-lying places. The plantation of Gu Sanyu’s family is one of the lowest places in the town. In the upper reaches of the plantation, separated by a river, is the factory building of Henan Jinhui Hongpeng Stainless Steel Products Co., Ltd.
Tianyan check shows that Henan Jinhui Hongpeng Stainless Steel Products Co., Ltd. was established in 2011 and currently produces 100,000 tons of stainless steel pipes per year.
The journal “Chemical Management”, which is in charge of the Petrochemical Industry Association and sponsored by the Chemical Enterprise Management Association, once published an article “The Prevention and Improvement Project of Pollution in the Pickling Process of Stainless Steel Processing Enterprises”. The article pointed out that the processing of stainless steel products requires heading, dusting, stretching, annealing and other processes. Black and yellow oxide scales will appear during processing such as stretching and annealing. In order to improve the appearance and corrosion resistance of stainless steel, the processed stainless steel must be pickled.
The pickling process is an indispensable link in the processing and production of stainless steel, and it is also the main pollution-producing link, which will produce waste water, waste gas and solid waste. Among them, the wastewater contains acidity, total chromium, total nickel, total iron, fluoride, chemical oxygen demand, petroleum and other pollutants. Pickling wastewater will pollute the water body, affect the growth and reproduction of aquatic animals and plants, and even cause death; the acid-containing wastewater will penetrate into the soil for a long time, which will cause soil calcification and destroy the loose state of the soil, thus affecting the growth of crops; the wastewater contains a large amount of heavy metal ions , Can accumulate in the human body through the food chain, causing harm to human health. The solid waste is the acid residue produced during the pickling process and deposited on the bottom of the pickling tank. The main components of acid slag are the metal oxide scale that peeled off the surface of stainless steel after pickling and the chromium, nickel, iron and other substances that corrode and dissolve during the pickling process. According to the “National Directory of Hazardous Wastes” (2016), these acid residues and waste acid are classified as hazardous waste.
The official website of Henan Jinhui Hongpeng Stainless Steel Products Co., Ltd. shows that the company’s products are stainless steel decorative pipes, stainless steel industrial pipes, stainless steel product pipes, stainless steel cold-rolled steel strips, and stainless steel cold-rolled steel plates. A practitioner familiar with the stainless steel production line told the Caijing reporter that according to the products displayed on Jinhui Hongpeng’s official website, the factory’s production process only involves cutting and other physical processing methods, and no pollutants are generated. To further determine whether pollution will occur, the key depends on whether it produces stainless steel and whether it has processing and decoration techniques, such as surface painting.
In the few days when the flood just receded, Gu Sanyu dared not stay in the yard for too long. When there was no wind, the air was filled with the smell of chemical materials. “People dare not stand in the yard for too long, dare not drink the well water, dare not wash their faces, wherever there is water around, there are oily unknowns floating on the water.”
There are many grapes in the vineyard. The edges of the leaves have turned yellow and curled, and the grapes are covered with a layer of dusty dust. During the growth of grapes, there is a “bagging” link. This is done for hygiene and to prevent pesticides from falling on the grapes when pesticides are applied. The second is to protect the grapes from rain and weather. There is a small opening at the bottom of the bag. In rainy weather, rainwater flows out of the small hole at the bottom of the bag. This time, Gu Sanyu said, the water is used to soak the grapes from the bottom up. The corrosive sewage water level rises, filling the bag from the bottom hole, and the grapes in the bag are soaked in the sewage for a long time. A reporter from Caijing randomly opened three new bags, and the grapes inside were covered with dust.
Not only were there unidentified engine oil floating in the water, but unidentified particles also appeared in the soil. A reporter from Caijing consulted two stainless steel plant staff, and the other side said they did not know the object. Gu Sanyu didn’t know what these particles were, but he intuitively thought that this batch of grapes could not be sold, “for fear of eating people”.
The grapes cannot be sold, but the expenditure cannot be suspended simultaneously. Gu Sanyu said that he hopes that the relevant departments can send personnel to test whether there are excessive heavy metals in the soil as soon as possible. If the edible standards can still be met, it is a point that the grapes can be sold a little bit to minimize losses as much as possible.
Responsibility is difficult to fall into the “three no matter” situation
Gu Sanyu went to the town’s environmental protection office, and the people at the environmental protection office said that this matter is not theirs. Later, he went to the agricultural bureau in the city and town. The agricultural bureau replied that it is only responsible for detecting pesticide residues, and the content of heavy metals in the soil is not within the scope of their detection. Someone suggested that he find a special third-party testing agency, and the testing agency sent someone to see it, and finally gave a quotation of 50,000 yuan for testing fees. For Gu Sanyu today, this is an unacceptably high price. The amount of expenses.
Gu Sanyu said that he had also been there for petitions from the city, and the result was that the city sent his request back to the town to deal with it, and the town asked him to find the district secretary to deal with it. The district secretary helped him mediate, but he has not yet come up with a satisfactory mediation plan. Every time Gu Sanyu called, the secretary told him, “I’m thinking of a way, and I have a headache.”
Oil stains and “unidentified particles” on grape bags. Photography / “Caijing” reporter Zhang Mingli
On September 11, a reporter from Caijing called Li Wanqing, director of the Environmental Protection Office of Dazhou Town, to verify that he did not know about the matter and could not provide testing services. However, Gu Sanyu said that the other party had sent people to check on the scene, and one of them said after seeing the scene that he could not be sure that the polluted grapes were caused by sewage from the factory.
He Xiying, a lawyer from Shandong Deheng Law Firm, suggested that Gu Jia first negotiate with the stainless steel processing plant. If the negotiation fails, he can defend his rights by suing the people’s court. This is a civil infringement case. Although the local government or non-governmental mediation organization can organize both parties to mediate, they do not have the authority to determine whether the infringement is infringement and the degree of liability for infringement.
Earlier, Gu Sanyu told the Caijing reporter that he had also tried to consult a lawyer. The lawyer’s suggestion was that if he could not litigate, he would not litigate. First, go to the town and let the town’s leaders communicate with the manufacturer. If a lawsuit is filed, the manufacturer is also the victim, and the Gu family has little chance of winning the case for secondary injuries caused by non-subjective intentions, so they can only coordinate as much as possible.
He Xiying explained that for environmental pollution damage caused by force majeure, whether environmental infringers should bear tort liability, there are currently different opinions. There is a view that if environmental tortfeasors are exempted from liability and the victims who are obviously in a disadvantaged position bear the consequences of pollution damage, it is contrary to the trend of modern tort law “increasing emphasis on protecting the interests of the victims”, and it is also in line with the modern civil law’s emphasis on pursuit” The spirit of “substantial fairness” is different, so the exemption of environmental infringers is not supported. There are also views that force majeure is a statutory exemption from liability, and environmental infringers should not be excessively blamed for assuming greater obligations. According to current laws and regulations, environmental infringers should not bear tort liability.
He Xiying believes that as far as this vineyard is concerned, after the “July 20” heavy rain disaster occurred in Henan, the upstream reservoir flooded the valley’s vineyards. This event is an objective situation that cannot be foreseen, avoided, and cannot be overcome. Force majeure situation. According to the relevant provisions of the Civil Code, civil liabilities shall not be assumed if the civil obligations cannot be performed due to force majeure. Although there is a causal relationship between the leakage of pollutants from stainless steel processing plants and the damage results of Gu’s vineyards, force majeure factors play a key role. Gu’s and stainless steel processing plants are both victims of the flood. In principle, stainless steel processing plants are Gujia Vineyard does not bear tort liability for losses.
However, He Xiying said that if the stainless steel processing plant has illegal storage, discharges pollution sources, or the planning, land and other procedures do not meet the legal requirements, or the necessary measures are not taken in time after the flood to prevent the occurrence of environmental pollution, then it will cause Gujia Vineyards. The abnormal factor that damages the result is not only force majeure, but the behavior of the stainless steel processing plant is at fault, and the fault is also the cause of the damage. The stainless steel processing plant should bear the corresponding tort liability.
The Caijing reporter understands that because the scene has been destroyed after the flood, it is difficult to prove that the stainless steel processing plant has a fault and that the behavior has a causal relationship with the result of the damage. For example, pollutants have been discharged and diluted with the flood, and it is difficult to detect whether the pollutants are discharged in violation of regulations; some facilities in the factory have been destroyed by the flood, and it is difficult to check whether the pollution sources are stored in violation of regulations, and whether the factory has taken necessary measures to stop damage after the flood. View on site.
He Xiying suggested that Gu Jia should first check with relevant departments of environmental protection, land, planning and other related departments to find out whether the stainless steel processing plant has illegal activities during normal production and operation. If so, whether the rectification has been in place before the flood, if it still exists during the flood. In violation of laws and regulations, this factor can be taken into account in tort liability. If compensation is requested in accordance with the principle of fairness in the civil law, the difficulty of proof may be relatively small. It is only necessary to prove that the pollutants in the vineyard originate from the stainless steel processing plant and meet the standards that the judge believes in his heart. As evidenced by the surrounding environment, the amount of compensation that this litigation plan may receive will also be smaller.
However, some steps still have difficulties at the practical level. In July, the town leader told Gu Sanyu to call the two parties to meet once when he was not busy. However, since July 31, the Gu family has not waited for the town government to communicate with the manufacturer. On September 11, a reporter from Caijing tried to call Secretary Liu in the district. Secretary Liu replied that the fact that the vineyards were flooded is still indeterminate. It cannot be said to be pollution caused by the stainless steel plant. The specific environmental protection and other departments need to be involved. Only by appraisal can a final conclusion be reached. “It is necessary to prove that the flooding of the vineyard is related to the flood. There is still a lot of work to be done in the process. Now we have to wait for the results of the investigation.” The reporter asked if an agency was following up on the appraisal matters, and the other party hung up on the grounds that they were cooking. telephone.
In the process of defending rights, Gu Sanyu encountered many expected resistance and many unexpected obstacles. For example, the peanut field of another family is separated from the Gu family by a ditch. His peanuts were also soaked, but the Gu family did not consult with the opposite company. “Because the other party has small economic losses and low requirements, it is easy to compromise in the negotiation process.”
Farming insurance problems
Compared with the “push and pull” after the event, the uncertainty before the event is more deadly. Long before the establishment of the vineyard, the Gu family consulted the People’s Insurance Company of China (referred to as “PICC P&C Insurance”). “After PICC P&C came to the yard, I thought it was not in the yard, and the risk was too great, so he would not be insured.” Gu Sanyu said that at the time the insurance company rejected him on the grounds that he was insured and compensated too much in agriculture. If it can be insured, the premium will be 10,000 yuan per year. In the event of a natural disaster, the insurance company must estimate it based on market conditions. In this case, the insurance company may have to pay hundreds of thousands of yuan.
It has been six years since Gujia’s contact person insured the property insurance, and it was difficult to find the contact information of the handling personnel of PICC P&C. On September 8, a reporter from Caijing called PICC P&C Henan Branch, requesting insurance for the vineyard, and the other party replied that there was no such insurance. However, China’s Ningbo Net reported in 2020 that “Personal Insurance Property Insurance Ningbo Branch’s comprehensive insurance for grape planting throughout the production cycle provides a firm risk protection for the production and operation of growers.” According to the article, the insurance covers the planting risks, price risks, transportation risks and product quality and safety risks of grapes. The relevant staff of PICC P&C Henan Branch said that it may be that different places provide different services. After confirmation, Henan does not provide this type of insurance.
He Xiying analyzed to a reporter from Caijing that grape planting insurance is a type of property loss insurance and is not a compulsory insurance. Insured persons who meet the insurance requirements can voluntarily enter into an insurance contract after consultation with the insurance company, and any party must comply with equality. The principle of voluntariness cannot be compulsory for insurance, nor can it be compulsory for underwriting. If the insurance company believes that the underwriting risk is too large after investigation, it can also choose not to underwrite or increase the premium for underwriting.
Yang Huihua, a professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics of the School of Economics and Management of China Agricultural University, told the Caijing reporter that for insurance companies, grape production risks and price risks are relatively high, and there is a greater insurance risk. Whether to open grape planting insurance in different regions, there are many considerations, involving differences in the relative importance of the grape industry in the local area, planting risk assessment, industrial support policies, and financial support capabilities, as well as the risk awareness of the grape industry. Or judgment is related to the local insurance service capabilities of the insurance company.
Compared with Zhejiang Province, the difficulties in carrying out grape planting insurance in Henan Province are: First, farmers are planting more scattered and the scale of planting is small; second, the cultivation mode is mainly open field cultivation, and the yield and quality of grapes are greatly affected by natural risks; Third, the grape planting technology and management level is low, and the homogeneity of production risks is poor; fourth, in recent years, the grape planting area has soared and market competition has increased, which has increased the risk of grape price fluctuations. These factors all reduce the insurability of grapes.
However, commercial insurance in the plantation industry only occupies a small percentage. Yang Xihua introduced that at present, China’s plantation industry insurance is still based on policy insurance. Policy insurance is divided into two major categories: central fiscal premium subsidies and local fiscal premium subsidies. After 2020, the central government’s premium subsidies will basically cover the main staple crops related to the national economy, people’s livelihood and food security. Featured agricultural products such as grapes, citrus, tea, apples, and pears appearing in various places are mostly subsidized by local financial premiums.
Although specialty agricultural products are of great economic importance to farmers, and the natural and market risks they face are much higher than those of bulk food crops, the reality is that a large number of local advantageous specialty crops are still exposed to risks. In addition, plantation insurance itself also faces other inherent shortcomings: First, there are relatively few types of insurance. At present, materialized cost insurance is still the mainstay. Regional production insurance, weather index insurance, price index insurance, complete cost insurance, income insurance, etc. have not been widely developed. The second is that the insurance coverage of planting industry is relatively low and single, which restrains farmers’ enthusiasm to participate in insurance to a large extent, which can be regarded as an obvious defect in planting industry insurance.
It is more difficult to develop grape insurance. One is because the scale of grape planting is small, the planting area is scattered, and the number of business entities is small. In this way, for insurance companies, it is difficult to carry out grape insurance to satisfy the law of large numbers to spread risks; for farmers, grape insurance premiums will be correspondingly higher, and for small-scale growers, the premium burden will be heavier. Therefore, the enthusiasm of both insurance companies and farmers has been suppressed; second, there are many varieties of grapes, the standardization of cultivation techniques is poor, and the homogeneity of production risks of different growers is poor, and it is difficult to meet the conditions for insurance. For example, one of the conditions for the planting industry to meet the requirements of the insurance is “in compliance with the local planting norms and technical management requirements”, which is an important problem that needs to be improved in grape planting; third, in the fruit category, Grape fruit sequence is more susceptible to natural disasters, and the yield risk is relatively high; fourth, there has been a certain blind development in grape planting in various regions, and the competition caused by the homogeneity of the industry makes the price of grapes more volatile.
Yang Xihua said that overall, China’s agricultural insurance is still in its infancy stage of development. At present, only a few local specialty agricultural products have corresponding insurance products. Due to the relatively small population, most specialty agricultural products are still difficult to obtain insurance services. She suggested that in the absence of commercial insurance, grape growers can take some other risk management measures. For example, vigorously develop rain-proof cultivation and protected grapes, enhance the ability of grapes to resist diseases and insect pests, and stabilize and increase grape production; develop order farming to avoid sales risks; according to market demand, according to regional production conditions, carry out early, middle and late ripening grape varieties To reduce the price risk, we will make a reasonable layout and mature time to market. At the same time, it is necessary to strengthen the standardized technical specifications of grape planting, expand the scale of grape planting, and strive to obtain personalized services from insurance companies. At the same time, it is necessary for the government to enforce environmental pollution liability insurance to prevent agricultural non-point source pollution, safeguard the interests of grape growers and the safety of grapes.
Obviously, the above suggestions are no longer practical for Gu Sanyu today. In mid-September, Gu Sanyu told a reporter from Caijing on WeChat that he was planning to go to the Northeast to work. Up to now, Gu Sanyu has not received any possible remedial policies and measures. His WeChat name has been changed to “Knowing Give Up”, and his wife’s WeChat signature reads “Just happy”.