After the conference, Count Sean asked Xu Yi to remain alone again.
No one was surprised because during the conference, Count Sean didn’t ask Xu Yi about the “developing agricultural industrialization” that he had mentioned, which meant that he wanted to discuss this with Xu Yi after the conference in detail.
But contrary to what everyone believed, Count Sean didn’t immediately ask Xu Yi about the “agricultural industrialization” problem right away, rather he asked about another matter that many people had neglected.
“Chairman Xu, when you said ‘canned fruit factory’ earlier, I remember you mentioning your plans to open them in the Stantine Duchy. You said that you recruited five hundred workers from Banta City…..Are you planning to bring these workers to the Stantine Duchy?” Count Sean asked.
“Of course not.” Xu Yi immediately shook his head, “Recruiting people and bringing them to the Stantine Duchy has a high cost. My idea was to first build a canned fruit factory outside Banta City. The location has already been chosen, it’ll be beside Koror Village.”
“Koror Village?” Count Sean thought about it, “That village is not in the first batch of villages that are being relocated and it isn’t close to Banta City. Why did you choose that place and not near Sandton Manor?”
“The main reason is because most of Banta City’s fruit trees are centralized around Koror Village. After I discussed this with chairman Cantona, I decided to have it as the central location of Banta City’s canned fruit factory. With the canned fruit factor built there, it will make it easier to process the fruits as soon as possible.” Xu Yi replied.
“Chairman Cantona?” Count Sean slightly knit his brows, “I seem to remember you mentioning this name before, isn’t his company mainly responsible for harvesting crops for normal farmers? Why are you discussing building a canned fruit factory with him?”
“Lord City Lord, this is related to the ‘agricultural industrialization’ that I mentioned earlier. It could even be said that chairman Cantona is one of the key characters and his company plays a key role.”
Count Sean couldn’t help revealing a smile, “I didn’t mention it and you raised this topic first. Alright, since you took the initiative to bring it up, tell me about it in detail. How is chairman Cantona and his company related to the ‘agricultural industrialization’ that you mentioned? Just what exactly is this ‘agricultural industrialization’ that you mentioned?”
“Alright.” Xu Yi nodded and without any courtesy, he organized his thoughts before saying with a serious look, “Lord City Lord, the ‘agricultural industrialization’ sounds very complicated, but if you change your views, it’s actually a very simple matter. To put it simply, this is to regard all farming matters as an industry and give it to someone else to do. The City Lord’s Manor just needs to receive enough grains each year.”
“Isn’t that just renting out farmland, what difference is there?” Count Sean knit his brows and asked, “The farmlands of Banta City are being rented to the farmers outside Banta City, the City Lord’s Manor just needs to collect rent each year. Isn’t it the same as that thing you mentioned?”
“Of course it’s not the same.” Xu Yi shook his head and said, “It’s also hiring them, but right now the farmers outside the land are just renting a small piece of farmland, so their income each year isn’t high. Therefore, the farmers aren’t that interested in remaining as farmers and would rather choose to work in the factories. But if we conduct this agricultural industrialization, centralizing all those scattered farmlands, they can focus on farming and liberate those farmers. They would give the farm work to the Cantona Chamber of Commerce who specialize in farming and it would increase the value of the farmlands. Whether it is to the Cantona Chamber of Commerce or the City Lord’s Manor, it would be very helpful.”
“But wouldn’t those farmers not have any farmland for themselves?” Count Sean tightly knit his brows, “To steal the farmland from those farmers, isn’t that cutting off their path of survival?”
Xu Yi couldn’t help shaking his head, “Lord City Lord, you still have the same old thoughts. Didn’t you hear what I said earlier in the conference? Right now there aren’t many farmers that are willing to keep farming because compared to working hard all year round just to earn less than ten gold coins, they would rather work in factories to earn over a hundred gold coins. With this large disparity, even if you give them farmland, they wouldn’t be willing to grow crops.”
“Although you’re right, I feel that this will cause trouble.” Count Sean shook his head, “Although the wage working in factories is much higher, how can you guarantee they’ll always have work? If the factories go out of business and the workers lose their jobs, they won’t even have farmland to grow food on, so this will create a large problem.”
Xu Yi revealed a faint smile, “I understand your worry, but Lord City Lord, I feel that you should have confidence in Banta City’s situation. Compared to worrying about factories closing and workers losing their jobs, you should be worried that Banta City can’t keep up with its current growth and satisfy the demand of the large companies for labour.”
Count Sean looked at Xu Yi, “Stop reminding me in an underhanded manner, I’ve been getting more people, but the nobles of the kingdom care about the people in their land, so this isn’t something that is easy to do. Alright, since you say there’s no need to worry about this, let’s not talk about this for now. Based on what you said just now, the Cantona Chamber of Commerce is planning on taking such a large piece of farmland?”
“That’s right. According to my discussions with chairman Cantona, chairman Cantona has decided to rent all the farmland in Koror Village, Kambia Village, and Moxilan Village.”
“He, he’s so bold, he wants to swallow three villages at once.” Count Sean said with a sigh of praise, “But has he thought that if those villagers ever want to rent farmland and even if I give those farmland to him, it isn’t easily taken back. How does he plan on solving this?”
Xu Yi didn’t immediately reply to Count Sean’s question and after hesitating a bit, he cautiously said, “Lord City Lord, actually…..From what I can see, the kingdom doesn’t treat the farmers well. The farmers work hard on their farms all year round and most of their crops are taken away by the kingdom, they can barely live on what’s left. This kind of life, I don’t think those farmers have anything to yearn for.”
Count Sean looked at Xu Yi with a frown and seeing that his expression was serious, not seeming like he was speaking nonsense, he gave a sigh and helplessly said, “Although what you are saying is right, these are the customs. Not only for our Lampuri Kingdom, for all the kingdoms on the Sines Continent, the farmers don’t have good lives.”
“So that means the Lord City Lord’s worries aren’t serious.” Xu Yi changed the topic, “Cantona was a villager from Kambia Village, so he is very clear on the attitude of those peasants on farming. When there is no other choice, farming is the only way to make a living. But now that there is another choice, there isn’t a farmer who is willing to remain as a farmer.”
“You mean to say…..Those farmers are willing to let me take back their farmland and rent it to the Cantona Chamber of Commerce?” Count Sean asked.
“Yes. Actually Cantona wanted to bypass the City Lord’s Manor and directly sublet the farmland from those villagers. He had investigated in those three villages and over 95% of the villagers were willing. But when he asked me about this, I rejected his idea.”
Count Sean gave a cold snort, “It’s good you did. He was planning to hide this thing from me? He really doesn’t know the immensity of heaven and earth.” After pausing, he asked Xu Yi, “Now you are raising this matter with me, does this mean you support him?”
“I want to support his idea, but that doesn’t mean I support his approach, so I mentioned this to Lord City Lord and hope to come up with a more reasonable method.” Xu Yi said.
“Then what do you think?” Count Sean asked back.
“My opinion is that I hope the Lord City Lord can agree to let those three villages be the first tests and agree to rent all the farmland in those three villages to the Cantona Chamber of Commerce. The Lord City Lord should just treat the Cantona Chamber of Commerce as a normal farmer and take not a single copper coin less in tax each year. The only difference is that this farmer has rented a bit more farmland.”
“In theory, this idea is indeed not bad.” Count Sean nodded, “But I have a very important issue. The same farmland could barely let the farmers make a living, so now that it has fallen into the Cantona Chamber of Commerce’s hands, how will you guarantee that they can still pay taxes and earn enough money?”
“To put it simply, it’s through saving costs by industrializing their business. They change their structure and increase their benefits. Of course, this is a very complicated matter, but this isn’t related to the Lord City Lord, right? You just need to focus on collecting taxes each year and as for how to obtain benefits, that is up to chairman Cantona to consider.” Xu Yi said.
“That’s right, but I’m very worried that if their company can’t earn enough money, they will give up and these farmlands will be wasted.”
“I think you don’t need to worry about this, I have already had multiple discussions with chairman Cantona on this. I can guarantee that their company will find methods of making money and they will definitely stick to this.”
Seeing Xu Yi’s confident smile, Count Sean couldn’t help smiling as well.
“I actually forgot that since you’re taking part in this, how could it not make money? Am I right? Chairman Xu who everyone recognizes as being able to turn stone into gold, right?”
Xu Yi laughed and nodded without any courtesy.