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Farmers Feel Shocks of Int'l Competition
Chen Tianqi, 55, who has grown longan - a small tropical fruit found in the south of China - for more than 16 years in Xiamen in East China's Fujian Province, may have almost no understanding of "globalization," but he has certainly learnt how economically crucial it is.

This year, affected by cheaper imported longans from neighbouring Thailand, the price of the local fruit has slumped to 0.6 yuan (7 US cents) per kilogram, its lowest in a decade, despite three successive good harvests.

And it is not just the farmers on the frontline who are acutely aware of the problem. Chen Jiyuan, former head of the Institute of Rural Economic Development under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the thing that really concerns the country is how to increase farmers' income in the face of agricultural price falls.

As a pilot city of Chinese reform and opening-up policies, Xiamen fruit traders have had to compete with imported goods for the past 10 years.

"Chinese farmers should try to adapt their production to the overseas market as early as possible, and only by doing this can they possibly survive the intense competition that will soon arrive," said Chen.

To improve the quality and competitiveness of products, farmers in Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Fujian - all economic powerhouses in the country - have demonstrated an increased awareness of market competition, coupled with a strong desire to use advanced technology.

Some institutions are making global agricultural yield predictions to help farmers readjust production plans.

(eastday.com November 27, 2002)

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