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Farmers' income to continue rising, official says
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Chinese farmers would see their income continue to rise this year, Vice Minister of Agriculture Chen Xiaohua said at a press conference Saturday.

"As China's economy is recovering, there are more and more positive factors supporting the increase of farmers' income," said Chen.

Farmers' per capita cash income in the first half of this year reached 2,733 yuan (400 U.S. dollars), up 8.1 percent year on year. But the increase rate was 2.2 percentage points slower than that in the same period last year, according to Chen.

"The growth is remarkable and the statistics are pleasing. However, China is still short of a long-term mechanism for increasing farmers' income and efforts need to be made to increase the channels for farmers to earn more money," said Chen.

In the past, farmers' income was mainly driven up by increased grain production or raised prices. "Now, we should push forward agricultural industrialization to let market guide grain planting and agricultural production," Chen said.

Chen also stressed the importance of creating more jobs for surplus rural laborers in a bid to increase their salary income.

The salary income mainly comes from the earnings from working in local or urban enterprises.

The economic crisis reduced the number of Chinese migrant workers, with the current number standing around 225 million. In the second quarter this year, this number increased 2.6 percent from the first.

Chen also said the government will increase fiscal support for farmers in subsidizing their purchase of seed, diesel, fertilizer and other production materials.

The central government always gives priority to increasing farmers' income, he said.

"Local authorities should make every effort to keep increasing farmers' income to shore up rural development and to ensure stable and rapid economic development," Chinese Vice Primer Hui Liangyu said at a rural work conference held in China's eastern city of Hangzhou from Thursday to Friday.

(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2009)

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