Over 94 million Chinese farmers had left their hometowns to find work in 2002, an increase of 4.7 million over the previous year, according to a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Zhang Hongyu, an Agriculture Ministry official Tuesday told a seminar on rural laborers that China had 480 million rural laborers, with 320 million engaged in agriculture.
China's agriculture needed about 170 million laborers, which meant that China still had 150 million surplus rural laborers.
Zhang pointed out that working away from home had become a major channel for the transition of rural laborers.
Statistics also showed that Chinese farmers who worked away from their hometowns earned an total income of 527.8 billion yuan(63.6 billion US dollars) in 2002.
In 2002, the Ministry of Agriculture launched a trial scheme offering training for farmers who want to work in non-rural areas in six counties.
(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2003)