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China's rural development in 2009

2010-03-12 20:36 BJT

Last year, rural development was seriously challenged by the global economic recession and the impact of extreme weather.  But life for the country's 800 million farmers has been steadily improving. That couldn't have happened without the central government's policies.

Farmers' average annual income last year exceeded 5000 yuan or 700 US dollars.

This may not sound impressive, but if we put that figure into perspective:  it's 6 percent more than what they earned a year earlier, and 35 percent more than five years ago.

The increasing income is attributable to the higher government purchase price for agricultural products.

In 2009, the government paid an extra 15 per cent   compared with 2008. For other main crops, farmers were also paid much more.

Governments at all levels have also allocated funds to stabilize the price of pork, cotton, beans and corn.

With more disposable income each year, China's been able to stimulate domestic demand in rural areas.

To make lives better, the government launched a project called "Bringing home appliances to the countryside". Provincial governments organized outlets and sent sales teams to rural China.
The aim is to provide rural families with essential home appliances. The projection is within the next four years, 480 million white goods will be sold to the rural population, at an low price. The margin will be subsidized by local governments.

For example, if a family chooses to buy the government-subsidized package of home appliances including a TV set, refrigerator, washing machine and a cellphone, it can save 1000 yuan or 150 US dollars.

The project has been generally well received by farmers although some say they'd like a wider variety of appliances to choose from.

One adverse impact of the global financial crisis is that millions of Chinese migrant workers lost their jobs in coastal Chinese factories.

To assist them, a substantial amount of the central government's stimulus package went on building infrastructure in rural areas and financing small and medium and enterprises in villages and townships across the country. A 1.1 billion yuan project has been launched to educate and train the farmer-turned migrant workforce and equip them with new skills and know-how. Local governments also asked certain companies not to lay off migrant workers until they absolutely had to. 

Editor: James | Source: CCTV.com