A central working conference on rural issues was held in Beijing on December 24-25, focusing on ways to increase farmers' income and grain production capacity, as well as on how to deepen rural reforms. In a keynote speech, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu summed up the government's experience in the problems of agriculture and rural communities in 2003, and mapped out plans for the government work in the field in 2004.
During the two days, participants discussed a proposal by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on the efforts to help farmers earn more. The meeting concluded that China's agriculture and rural economy have entered a new stage of development, in which they face new opportunities and challenges. The sluggish growth in farmers' income has long been the main problem, and it is a long-term and difficult task to resolve it, sources at the meeting said.
The meeting called for timely readjustment of the thinking and methods for the promotion of farmers' income, in accordance with the changes of the environment, conditions and tasks for the development of agriculture and rural economy in the new period. Efforts should be made to encourage farmers to increase their income on their own, and increase government financial assistance to agriculture, according to the meeting.
It also called for protecting and increasing the grain production capacity. New ways of thinking and methods should be adopted in dealing with the issue of grain in the new situation, it said.
In addition, the meeting called for stepping up rural reforms, in order to further spur productivity in the countryside.
(Xinhua News Agency December 26, 2003)