Chinese farmers' income to be doubled
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-13 07:27

The nation has set a goal of doubling per capita disposable income of rural residents by 2020 from the 2008 level, top decision-makers announced in Beijing Sunday.

The target was set at the close of the 3rd Plenary Session of the 17th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, which focused on rural reform and development.

Standing members of the CPC Central Committee raise their hands to adopt a decision on major issues concerning rural reform and development at the four-day plenum which ended in Beijing on October 12, 2008. [Xinhua] 

The government will substantially boost consumption of rural residents and eliminate absolute poverty in rural areas by 2020, said a communique issued at the plenum's conclusion.

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Per capita rural disposable income in 2007 was 4,140 yuan ($605), a year-on-year gain of 9.5 percent in real terms. A rise of at least 6 percent is expected this year, according to the government annual report issued in March.

The rural population mired in absolute poverty was reduced to 15 million last year, down from 250 million in 1978.

The country faces challenges in rural development and reform, but will firmly push forward with the task, the communique said.

"Rural infrastructure is still weak and needs improving. Rural development is lagging behind and needs support. Farmers' incomes are increasing slowly, and need to be pushed up," said the document.

"We will firmly push forward rural reform ... and we shall work out new concepts and ideas to solve the problems in rural development."

The government will improve the rural economic system, the communique said. The system is based on the household contract responsibility system, which entrusts the production and management of public-owned farmland to individual households through long-term contracts.

It will set up a "strict and normative" land management system in the countryside, expand policy support for agriculture, establish a modern rural financial network and a system to balance development between rural and urban areas, and improve rural democracy.

In the communiqu, the CPC promised to allot more government funds to public services in rural areas, including education, healthcare, employment, housing and pension.

Agriculture will be modernized in tandem with rural progress, and agricultural productivity will be raised, with national grain security and product supplies ensured, the communique said.

It asked Party organs and governments at all levels to put rural development at the top of their agenda and ensure it is reflected in policies, planning, budgets and assignment of officials.

The meeting also discussed the economic situation, saying the country will maintain flexible and prudent macro-economic policies and seek to expand domestic demand in the face of a grim international economic environment.

It warned that the global economy was slowing, threatening to dent Chinese growth, and said the country would be turning to home markets to counter the fallout.

"The most important thing is to handle our country's own affairs well," the communiqu said.

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, delivered a work report at the four-day plenum, attended by 202 full members and 166 alternate members of the committee.

Some delegates to the 17th CPC National Congress who are working on agriculture and rural development at the grassroots, as well as experts and scholars on agriculture, rural areas and farmers also attended the plenum.


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