Farmers´ incomes cctv.com 02-12-2004 The comparatively sluggish development of agriculture and the slow increase of farmers' incomes have emerged as major problems facing China today. But changes have taken place in some rural areas where reforms have been carried out. What are these changes and how are farmers feeling about them? China is a large agricultural nation with farmers making up the overwhelming majority of the population. To increase farmers' incomes bears not only on the vital interests of China's hundreds of millions of farmers and on economic development and social stability in the countryside, but also on the overall prospects for economic and social development. The development of agricultural and rural infrastructure is being accelerated and everything possible is being done to create conditions for increasing rural incomes. For some farmers, life is getting better. In 2003 China's per capita GDP crossed the US$1000 threshold, indicating that Chinese people are nearing the country's goal of building a well-off society. According to international experience, when per-capita GDP surpasses US$1,000, consumption patterns are modified to stress discretionary spending, with past luxuries becoming residents' daily necessities. But this figure also includes the 60% of farmers who are still living a comparatively poor life. There will be real changes in farmers' quality of life only if their per capita GDP reaches US$1000. The Beijing West Railway Station got busy right after Spring Festival. For the family to earn more money, many farmers hastily came to Beijing to look for work. They are hoping to achieve higher incomes in the new year. Liu Yunxian, migrant worker, from a village in Hubei province had the job of keeping files and doing the cleaning in the office. To make a good impression on his boss, Liu stayed on the construction site during Spring Festival rather than going home for a family reunion. His brother and sister who were working in Tianjin went back home. Liu Yunxian's family situation is typical of many farmers in China. From 1997, China's agriculture began to slow down after a period of rapid growth since the beginning of economic reforms in the late 1970s. Economic growth in some of the major grain producing areas almost came to a standstill. 42 percent of farmers suffered from a reduction in income. This had a great impact on the overall national economy. Shi Yi is a farmer from the Shunyi district of Beijing. He is now running a stud-boar farm and has many customers every day. He used to rely on grain production for a living, but because of his low income, he didn't even have any electric appliances at home. In a large agricultural country like China, the low income of farmers is no small matter. Government bodies at all levels attach great importance to this issue. In order to increase farmers' incomes, some regions have adopted a series of measures to suit local conditions. With encouragement and support from the local government, towns and villages in Shunyi District carried out agricultural restructuring. The single production mode was shifted to combined grain production, aquaculture and processed goods to form a shareholding system. The farmers are both workers and shareholders. In addition to pay for their work, they also get a handsome share of the dividends. Besides agricultural restructuring, many towns and villages also made great efforts to develop the manufacturing and service industries as an important way of increasing incomes for surplus farmhands. Gao Liying Town in the Shunyi district of Beijing has been successful in this regard. Chen Yueqin used to be an ordinary farmer in the village. Several years ago her annual income was less than 1000 RMB, but this amount increased greatly after she became a worker in a food processing company in the town. Like Liu Xianyun, Shi Yi and Chen Yueqin, many farmers in China are seeking ways to increase their incomes on their own or with the assistance of local government. However, increasing farmers' incomes is undeniably a long-term problem. It must be combined with rural, agricultural and farmer-oriented reforms in taxes, education and health as well as land.
Pages to are hidden for
"Farmers′ incomes"Please download to view full document