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To Increase Farmer's Income, a New Challenge for China's Poverty Reduction Endeavor

A senior Chinese official said in Shanghai Wednesday that China is facing new challenges in the new phase of the poverty reduction course despite the remarkable achievements the country has made during the past over 20 years, among which, to increase farmer's income is of the most urgency.

Liu Jian, director of China's State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, made the remark when addressing the ongoing Global Conference of Scaling Up on Poverty Reduction in Shanghai.

On the work level, poverty reduction and development in China face new challenges in the new era, and following profound changes in the supply and demand relationships of farm produce in China, it has become a brand new topic as how to help poor farmers to increase their income under the circumstances of strong competition on the farm produce market, Liu said.

Along with the improving market economy system, the mechanism of poverty reduction work needs to be further explored and innovated, Liu noted.

Official statistics show that, due to historical reasons, the majority of China's poor population lives in rural areas. In 1978, just prior to the reform and opening to the rest of the world, China had 250 million poor people, who were inadequately fed and clothed, representing a poverty incidence of 30 percent.

With 25-year unremitting efforts, the poor areas have witnessed significant improvements in their production and living conditions and the number of inadequately fed and clothed poor has declined to 29 million, representing a poverty incidence of 3 percent, statistics show.

Liu said China has explored out a poverty reduction road adapted to the Chinese reality in the poverty reduction and development process, which is characterized by "government playing a leading role, social participation, self-reliance of the poor, development-based poverty reduction and all-round coordinated development".

According to Liu, China would be dedicated to establishing a more effective poverty reduction mechanism and adhere to the people-centered development strategy and start setting up a dynamic monitoring system of the poor population.

China would also place priority on improving basic production and living conditions, raising general qualifications of the poor and increase their income, and further increase investments in poverty reduction, Liu pledged, adding that the country would continue pursuing the practice of developing and expanding exchanges and collaboration with international organizations on poverty reduction.

"Over the years, we have made great progress in collaborating with the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program and with bilateral governmental organizations and nongovernmental organizations, and these collaboration initiatives not only have had direct and important impacts on reducing poverty in China, but also have brought in with them poverty reduction experience and scientific methodologies of the international community to China and helped to improve the overall quality of the Chinese poverty reduction work", Liu stressed.

(Xinhua News Agency May 27, 2004)

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