Farmers trained they seek jobs in Shandong
East China's Shandong Province is taking every measure possible to help ensure farmers a smooth transfer to urban areas as limited farm land has forced 1 million rural labourers to find jobs in cities each year.
"The new development trend demands high quality labour forces. The province will launch systematic job training for the future rural labour force transfer, and intensify organization for the change," said Zhan Shuyi, director of the Shandong Agriculture Department.
"High quality rural workers will ensure a smooth transfer to urban areas," Zhan said.
Currently 80 per cent of rural labour forces in Shandong have only a middle school education, and only 10 per cent have any technical training.
Low education level is the major challenge for the rural migrants searching for jobs in cities, where employment is already a problem due to the readjustment of industrial structures and economic reforms have pushed many urban residents out of work.
Fortunately the situation is turning around in some parts of the province.
In Zhuzhuang Village of Gaotang County in Shandong, farmers are taking nightly long-distance courses via the Internet. Organized by the local government, night classes have greatly opened farmers' eyes to various kinds of knowledge.
To date Shandong has set up more than 2,200 terminal inception stations in rural areas for long-distance courses, which are expected to help boost rural workers' quality.
Shandong has a population of more than 91 million, with more than 60 million in rural areas.
"The surplus of rural workers transferring from fields to factories, from rural to urban areas, will finally make Shandong strong and rich," said Zhan.
Since the late 1990s it has become gradually more difficult for grain producers to increase their income through agriculture.
In Shandong the population of annual transferring rural workers grew from 400,000 in 1997 to 1 million in recent years.
The average land per capita of China is merely one-third of that in the world.
Experts say the very low average land occupation of Shandong has severely restricted land output rate and farmers' productivity.