SCIO briefing on agriculture and rural development

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Speakers:
Mr. Han Changfu, minister of agriculture
Mr. Han Jun, director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group
Mr. Ye Zhenqin, vice minister of agriculture
Mr. Wu Hongyao, deputy director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group

Chairperson:
Hu Kaihong, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office

Date:
Sept. 29, 2017

Third, there are conditions for development. The rural areas have new industries and businesses, and the business start-ups didn't come out of the blue. You can feel that at present that rural traffic and transportation is becoming ever more convenient and accessible. In addition, the internet and information technologies are increasingly popular in the countryside. The gap between rural and urban areas is clearly shrinking, while logistics distribution systems are quickly entering the rural areas. These have placed a very good foundation for the development of new industries and businesses in the rural areas.

The development of rural areas needs not only clean water and green mountains but also young talented people. Therefore, we encourage migrant workers, entrepreneurs and college graduates to launch start-ups in our countryside. The No.1 Central Document has set out an overall program with policies required to be implemented for dealing with a particular issue, shoring up land utility, financial applications and training programs.

In regard to land utility, there is a certain proportion of new construction land that should be contributed to emerging industries or to other trends concerning rural development.

Synergic efforts are being undertaken to support the various preferential policies, including, market access, fiscal and tax issues, financial services, land use, electricity consumption, entrepreneurial training and social security, all designed to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas.

Migrants returning from the cities are encouraged to start their own businesses through innovation zones, incubators, start-up service platforms, streamlined and open-window administrative services to support new development modes in the countryside.

All in all, we believe, as long as the momentum emerging from village maiden entrepreneurship is maintained, China's rural economy, now known as the 2.0 Version of China's rural entrepreneurial endeavor, will flourish again with the inception of new start-ups and innovation among the returning migrant population. Thank you.

Han Changfu:

I'd like to give another figure. So far, the number of migrant workers returning home to start a business and permanent urban residence holders who are rural business owners has exceeded seven million. We welcome more people to follow suit.

CCTV:

We only have less than three years to go before 2020, but still many farmers are not well-off. Income increases for farmers has now become quite difficult after a streak of rapid growth in recent years. My question is what concrete measures will be taken next to ensure rapid income growth.

Han Changfu:

Affected by the international market, the price of farm produce saw only a slight increase in the past two years, which resulted in a sluggish increase in farmers' operating revenues. For migrant workers, their income increased, but at a slower rate. How to make the income growth sustainable for them? This is indeed a question for us. Anyhow we will never cease our efforts and continue to take it as our central task in our work related to agriculture, farmers and rural areas.

There are several key aspects to maintaining the good momentum: First, to keep up the growth of household business operating income. Specifically, we should prioritize a green and eco-friendly approach as well as safety in agricultural production, and nurture high quality farm products with brand recognition, so as to ensure they can be sold at a good price. And we should also be more efficient and energy-saving. Together with green development, water and energy saving should be widely applied in agricultural production, so as to reduce the cost of labor, transportation and resources. Meanwhile, we should facilitate the development of appropriately scaled-up agricultural operations.

Second, we should further expand the channels available for increasing rural incomes. This involves developing emerging industries, such as leisure agriculture, rural tourism, creative agriculture and e-commerce. In addition, we should also encourage migrant workers to start businesses in their hometowns and villages.

Third, reform of the rural collective property-rights system will be deepened to clearly identify such rights and to provide rural residents with a more adequate property rights system.

Fourth, in poor counties, various actions for promoting rural development will be carried out vigorously. We will take targeted measures to cultivate business operations with distinctive local features, for instance, growing vegetables, fruits, tea trees, edible mushroom and herbal medicines as well as raising silkworms. We are confident in achieving the growth of rural income at a higher rate than that of the GDP and urban income.

Reuters:

I have two questions. The first is about pig breeding. About 200,000 pig farms have been shut down since this year's new environmental rules were introduced. Could you inform us about the specific drop in numbers of pigs? How many pigs will there be at the end of the year? The second question is about ethanol. China plans the nationwide use of ethanol fuel by 2020. How much corn will be consumed to achieve the goal? Does China have enough corn? Or will it have to import corn or other raw materials for ethanol as many predict? Thank you.

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