Across China: Farmers hope to break income growth dilemma

Publish time: 1st February, 2016      Source: Xinhua News Agency
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Across China: Farmers hope to break income growth dilemma

DATE:2016-02-01           SOURCE:Xinhua News Agency

BEIJING, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Ma Yonggang collected a bumper crop of 3 tonnes of corn from five mu (0.33 hectares) of farmland last autumn. Yet, the harvest brought him no joy as the corn price was 20 percent lower than last year.


"This is the lowest price I have seen in about 10 years," said the farmer from Qihe County in east China''s Shandong Province. "Added to this, it costs more to pay workers, and buy fertilizer and pesticide."


Multiple factors, including consecutive good harvests, healthy state inventories and lower prices of imports, led to declines in domestic crop prices, said Zheng Yiguang, deputy director of Qihe County Grain Bureau.


Dai Jiafa, a farmer from Hanshan County, Anhui Province, said he had found it difficult selling the crops he had grown on the 110 hectares of farmland he leased.


Dai even suffered losses last year as he had to sell his crops at a discount as he had no storage and drying facilities.


"Production is no worry, but I am worried about the price," Dai said.


Ma and Dai, like others in China, have pinned their hopes on a new agricultural policy, which may help them.


China''s central authorities on Wednesday released an annual policy document with focuses on agriculture and rural issues. This year it identified supply-side reform as a way to boost agricultural modernization.


Agriculture is a significant issue in the world''s most populous nation, mired by problems including low farmer income, pollution and ineffective supply of farm produce.


Upholding an innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development concept, the central government called for faster transformation of agricultural models and vowed "marked progress" in agriculture by 2020 to ensure the society becomes moderately prosperous.


Hu Dongsheng, head of the provincial grain bureau in Heilongjiang, the country''s largest grain-producing region, said the government should continue to set a minimum price to support the domestic grain market, otherwise farmers'' enthusiasm and food security might be affected.


Xu Xueqi, a manager with Dalian Wanrun Grains Co. Ltd. said the government must subsidize farm produce exports, otherwise exports could be affected.


The document also called for more support to encourage rural e-commerce and reduce logistics costs.

Wei Yan''an, head of the village affairs department with Shaanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Youth League, said that e-commerce can help supply-side reform.


Some farmers can sell their products on e-commerce platforms and information gathered by the platforms can also help reshape the production line to avoid blind production, said Wei.


"E-commerce can not only reshape the agricultural industry, but also nurture new industries to help create jobs for rural workers and revive the countryside economy,"Wei said.


"Local governments can choose to bring in large e-commerce platforms while supporting small local e-commerce shops," he said.