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Tibetan Farmers Promised Higher Income, Better Living Conditions
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Tibetan farmers and herdsmen will see a double-figure growth in net income and improvement in their living conditions in the coming years, said a leading local Party official.


In the next five years, the per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet will grow at an annual rate of 13 percent and will hit 3,820 yuan (about US$471) by the year of 2010, said Zhang Qingli, acting secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in a recent interview with Xinhua.


The per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet reached 2,075 yuan (US$259) last year, an increase of 11.7 percent from the previous year, comparing 2.6 percent, the growth rate for disposable income of urban residents in the same year.


"But the most urgent and prominent task in Tibet's economic and social development at the moment is to improve production and living conditions for the masses of farmers and herdsmen," said Zhang.


The autonomous regional government has decided to set aside 2.73 billion yuan (US$340 million) for housing construction and renovation in the next five years. Altogether 219,800 rural and pastoral households will benefit from the special housing financing scheme.


Doje Qoibe, a 49-year-old farmer from Redui Village in the western suburbs of Lhasa, the regional capital, said he was satisfied with the special housing financing program.


With 30,000 yuan (US$3,750) of interest-free loans from a local bank and 18,000 yuan (US$6,000) of subsidies granted to his family of six by the housing financing program, he has built a two-storey, Tibetan style house with a spacious backyard near the highway connecting downtown Lhasa to Gonggar Airport in the suburbs.


"The environment on the new house is quite hygienic because our family's livestock and farming tools are kept in the backyard. This is in stark contrast to life in our former village, where dwellers and livestock lived together," said the farmer.


Zhang Qingli, the Party official, also pledged more efforts in improving basic infrastructure in rural Tibet, and teaching farmers and herdsmen to value quality, efficiency, scientific development and intensive management via the implementation of a range of measures such as spreading advanced practical skills.


(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2006)

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