China to raise minimum purchase prices for farm products

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China would continue to raise the minimum purchase prices for farm products this year, in a bid to bridge the yawning rural-urban income gap, Premier Wen Jiabao said Monday. [More about Premier Wen's press conference]

The minimum purchase prices for farm produce were raised 20 percent to 40 percent in the past few years, Wen told a press conference after the conclusion of the annual parliamentary session.

The government will further increase the purchase prices by a big margin this year, he said, without giving a specific number.

According to official figures, the per capita net income for rural residents reached 5,919 yuan (902 U.S. dollars) in 2010, a year-on-year increase of over 10 percent. The growth rate has surpassed that of urban dwellers.

Despite the income increase, Wen warned against optimism as the basis of agriculture is not solid and farmers' income growth not steady.

In addition, Wen promised to address other needs of rural farmers.

China will press ahead with its reform on the household registration system to allow more migrant workers, mostly farmers, to settle down in cities, the premier said.

He said the government will also strive to ensure farmers have better access to training, educational resources and social insurance.


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