Premier Zhu Rongji stressed that China should give first priority to strengthening agriculture and increasing farmers’ income in its efforts to develop the national economy.
This will not only help raise farmers’ living standards but also be conducive to the balanced development of industry and agriculture and the urban and rural economy, said Zhu during his inspection tour in Shandong Province, a major grain producer in east China, from November 12 to 17.
Zhu, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, said that agriculture is the basis of China’s national economy, which should never be neglected.
Thanks to a series of successful rural policies in recent years, Zhu said, China’s agriculture, especially grain production, has made remarkable progress, contributing a lot to the development of the national economy and social stability.
However, Zhu said, there are still many problems in rural economy, such as low grain prices and slow growth in farmer’s income.
“If the situation is not improved, it may dampen the enthusiasm of farmers and shake agriculture’s position as the basis of the national economy,” Zhu said.
More effective measures should be taken to restructure agriculture and reform the grain distribution system as well as taxation and fee levying systems, Zhu said.
Zhu also stressed that greater efforts should be made to provide financial services to farmers.
(People’s Daily 11/19/2000)