2m hectares of farmland abandoned per year

Updated: 2011-09-13 16:42

By Gao Qihui (chinadaily.com.cn)

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2m hectares of farmland abandoned per year

Chen Songying, with four chairs reserved for her husband and three children who left home to work, sits in her farmland in front of her home in a village of Shizhuan town, Shikang city, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, August, 29, 2011. In the process of urbanization, more rural people in China leave villages to work in cities with most working as migrant workers. The statistics of National Bureau of Statistics shows that China already had a total of 230 million migrant workers in 2009. As it is not easy to take families to settle down in cities, the migrant workers from rural areas have to leave their kids, wives and parents in their rural home, which makes the population of some rural areas mainly made up of women, kids and elderly people. A survey conducted by China Agriculture University shows that there are about 87 million people left behind in rural area, comprised of 20 million kids, 20 million elderly people and 47 million women. [Photo/Xinhua]

About 2 million hectares of arable land are abandoned from farming each year, China Central Television reported Monday, citing a survey by the Ministry of Land and Resources.

The abandonment was attributed to the huge migration of rural labor to cities, the report said.

Thanks to the huge income gap between the rural and urban areas, many people from rural areas are choosing to leave villages to more developed cities and areas to work, said Zhang Fengtian, professor at the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development of Beijing-based Renmin University.

The outflow of young labor from rural areas really benefits the economic development of East China, which is more developed than the inland, but on the other hand, such an outflow of labor, including those with technological abilities, has become a big problem in rural development, said Li Qiang, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Tsinghua University.