Five million of China's 120 million farmers seeking jobs in urban areas have returned to their homes and started their own businesses, according to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture.
The returning workers have set up one fifth of the country's rural enterprises, boosting rural economic growth and creating jobs, said sources with the ministry.
Statistics show the five million new business owners employ 30 million people, each of whom earns 5,000 yuan (US$625) a year in addition to their farming incomes.
Returned workers usually enter the processing industry, making use of the resources in their hometowns with skills they have acquired in cities, providing an impetus to agricultural restructuring.
A ministry spokesman cited the case of Luo Zhiqi, from Shiban Village, southwest China's Guizhou Province, who invested 30,000 yuan (US$3,750) in a brickyard in his hometown after returning from south China's island province of Hainan, where he had been a migrant worker.
Luo's factory produced bricks worth 1.2 million yuan (150,000 U.S. dollars) last year, with profits of 200,000 yuan (US$25,000).
Analysts say the government should help returned workers start their own businesses with easier access to bank loans and training.
(Xinhua News Agency October 1, 2006)