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Focus on farmers' well-being

DATE:2014-12-25       SOURCE:China Daily

A new countryside in terms of villagers was put forward at the Central Rural Work Conference that concluded on Tuesday. This shifts the emphasis from rural infrastructure construction alone to more care for villagers and more attention to their benefits.


To some extent, this can be considered an antidote to what many localities have done in the construction of the new countryside, despite the fact that the living environment is an integral part of rural development.


The message being delivered is the lack of attention to the well-being of aged farmers, women and children left behind in the rural areas should not continue, and neither should the lack of protection for rural traditions and culture.


An investigation by an institute on the study of rural culture based in Central China's Hunan province found that on average 1.6 traditional villages have disappeared each day in recent years. From 2004 to 2010, the total number of traditional villages has declined from more than 9,000 to about 5,000. At the same time, the increasingly large number of rural laborers leaving for urban areas to earn livelihood has sapped the vigor of villages, which are now primarily home to the elderly, women and children.


For the sustainability of rural areas and the maintaining of traditional rural culture and traditions more attention must be paid to the establishment of a social services system to take care of the aged villagers, women and children.


For local governments, instead of coveting the money they can make from turning rural land into commercial land for real estate development, a vision is needed for the long-term development of traditional villages, many of which have great potential for tourism and sightseeing in the near future.


Improvements in the living conditions in rural areas is not necessarily in conflict with the protection of traditional villages that are unique in architecture and local traditional culture.


But the new concept requires that a local government should not make rural development plans without giving any thought to the concerns and well-being of rural residents.


They must make sure what they do in the construction of the new countryside will have a long-term positive effect on the life of villagers. They must make sure that rural residents are also beneficiaries of its construction.


Future counts on modern farming


We're used to equal development of the rural regions when it comes to constructing new roads, water and electricity facilities. From now on, the emphasis will be shifted to satisfying people's needs, such as caring for the vulnerable groups that remain in villages, providing better social services to them, and helping rural residents preserve the traditional culture to which they are accustomed.


Cheng Guoqiang, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, Xinhua News Agency, Dec 24


The modernization of agriculture cannot be accomplished by rural areas alone. Urban regions that have benefited from the past decades of development should lend a helping hand to their rural counterparts, this in turn requires the government to coordinate and invest more public resources in improving public services to farmers.


Xu Hongcai, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges,, Dec 24


The farming population is potentially a big consumer group. However, low incomes and insufficient social security have restricted their consumption in the past, which is an essential reason why China's economy remains investment-driven. With the incomes of farmers raised, the long-expected transformation of the economic structure will hopefully be realized.


Jiang Wenlai, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences,, Dec 24


A good harvest does not necessarily ensure better income for farmers. In the past there have been reports of farmers giving up growing crops because the profits were too low. A situation that did not change until the State introduced policies to subsidize grain-growing farmers. More favorable policies are needed to further encourage farmers to grow grains to ensure grain security for the nation., Dec 7


China's overall grain production has been increasing for 10 successive years, this is good news, but problems such as the over-consumption of resources, high pressure upon the ecological environment, and low returns of the agricultural sector have also emerged, thus raising doubts about its sustainability. There is a compelling need to accelerate the modernization of agriculture.


Zhang Xiaoshan, a researcher on rural development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Guangming Daily, Dec 24

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