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Training: A Fresh Start for Farmers
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A national vocational training program was launched on Tuesday by the Chinese government in an effort to help 5 million impoverished farmers over the next five years to find employment and lift them out of poverty.


Gu Xiulian, vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, said at the launch ceremony that vocational training was a fundamental poverty alleviation approach as it could increase the incomes of poorer people and also eased conflict over the shortage of arable land in heavily-populated areas.


The program, entitled the "Rain and Dew Plan," is sponsored by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development which is the leading body in China's poverty reduction efforts.


The program aims to retrain agricultural laborers in poorer areas and promote non-farming employment. A school for teaching the farmers new skills was opened in Beijing on Tuesday. It'll serve as the model for such learning centers in other regions.


More than 1,000 farmers from six provinces and regions including Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Henan, Tibet and Gansu have already registered with the Beijing school.


China has lifted more than 100 million of its poorest inhabitants out of poverty since it implemented a carefully-planned and large-scale campaign against rural poverty in 1986, statistics show. However, 23.65 million Chinese people remain without sufficient food or clothing.


(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2006)

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