Property rights of land should be clarified to protect farmers' interests, according to an article in Yanzhao Metropolis News. An excerpt follows:
It is reported that to protect farmers' long-term interests, South China's Guangdong Province has decided to push forward a land share-holding system through clarifying land property right.
This far-reaching measure is an effective way to root out illegal land requisition and protect farmers' basic rights.
For a long time, the country's farm land resources have been plagued with the same dilemma as State-owned enterprises (SOEs). Like the State-owned enterprises, land is owned by the State and the collective. Without clear property right arrangement, farmers do not have a clear sense of responsibility for the land, thus leading to low efficiency in land use.
Worse, due to ambiguous land property right, some rural cadres set themselves up as owners and managers of the farm land. Taking little consideration of interests of the country and farmers, some village cadres decide for the farmers what crops they should plant. In some cases, some village cadres sell farmland to meet the demands of real estate developers at the sacrifice of farmers' interests.
Reform of the State-owned enterprises stresses clarifying property right, which has helped them achieve greater corporate efficiency and competitiveness. Policy-makers can learn from the country's SOE reform to improve the efficiency of land use.
Farmers could become the owners of lands in the land share-holding arrangement. In the process, farmers should be prodded into protecting their land and fighting illegal land requisition.
(China Daily May 28, 2004)