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Measures Taken to Raise Farmers' Income

Sensing the urgency of raising farmers' income, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council have issued a document on policies for boosting the growth in the income of farmers.
The document, the key points of which was made public Sunday, prescribes a number of measures to increase farmers' income, stressing raising farmer's income is a significant issue both economically and politically.
The document urges stronger support for grain production in major grain-producing areas to help raise the income of grain farmers. Resources will be concentrated for the construction of a number of state-class high-quality special grain production bases beginning this year.
In order to reduce the financial burden on farmers, the general level of agricultural tax rates will be cut by one percentage point this year and tax levies on special farm produce except tobacco leafs will be annulled.
The document calls for continued efforts to push forward the readjustment of the structure of agriculture to tap its full potential in yielding profits for farmers, and to develop secondary and tertiary industries in the countryside to open up more money-earning opportunities for farmers.
A good environment should be created in cities so that farmers can find jobs for more income, and the role of the market mechanism should be brought into full play to improve the market circulation of agricultural products.
According to the document, construction of infrastructure facilities in the countryside should be strengthened to lay a foundation for farmers to earn more, and the rural reform should be deepened to provide a guarantee for farmers to increase income and reduce financial burden.
The document also calls for continued efforts to carry out the task of poverty reduction and development in the rural areas and help the poverty-stricken people and victims of natural disasters overcome difficulties in production and daily life.
The leadership of the Party should be strengthened to ensure that all the policies to help farmers increase their income are implemented to the letter, the document says.
Despite steady economic development in the rural areas, numerous problems still exist in the countryside, it says. The most salient of these problems is that it is difficult for farmers to increase their income.
The document points out that if farmers' income remains stagnant for long, their living standards will be affected; moreover, grain production and the supply of agricultural products will be impaired.
It will also constrain the growth of the rural economy and the national economy as a whole, and hamper social progress in the countryside and the realization of the goal of building a relatively affluent society in an all-round way.
The income growth of China's 900 million farmers has lagged behind that of urban residents. The disposable per-capita income of urban residents grew by 9.3 percent in 2003, five percentage points higher than that of rural residents, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

(Xinhua News Agency February 8, 2004)

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