Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told drought-stricken farmers Tuesday the government would continue to improve and strengthen its agricultural policy in an effort to boost their living standards.
The premier used the National Day holiday week to inspect areas in southwestern China ravaged by severe drought including Sichuan Province and Chongqing Municipality and offer encouragement to battling farmers. The summer drought has affected millions of people in the region.
During a visit to Nitu Village in Nanchong, Wen asked farmers about their difficulties and instructed local officials to resolve problems upon hearing that some families had lacked food since the drought began.
He also inspected fields, wells, pig-pens and marsh gas pits, noting that self-help was the best way for farmers to recover their losses.
Hearing complaints of bad roads, high drug prices and expensive TV charges from villagers in Tongliang County, Wen said the government had raised investment in rural infrastructure construction and services, aiming to provide farmers with better living standards.
"Farmers' words encourage us," said Wen. "Our policy of supporting the agricultural sector will not change, but will improve and be strengthened.
"There is still much work to be done for the countryside. The government will give more support to help farmers live better."
The premier also visited residents in Hechuan who were relocated from the Three Gorges Dam area, as well as retired and laid-off people and a centenarian in Suining and Chongqing.
(China Daily October 4, 2006)