Loans for agriculture
Up to US$2.4 billion has been earmarked to support agricultural development in one of the country's main grain producing regions.
The Agricultural Development Bank of China has agreed to provide the loans within three years.
The bank signed an agreement with the government of Changchun, the Jilin provincial capital, in Beijing yesterday.
Wang Rulin, Party secretary of Changchun, said the 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) worth of loans will mainly be used to support construction and development of agriculture-related companies. "This will greatly promote development of the local economy," he said.
The agreement would increase the competitiveness of the agricultural industry, said bank president, Zheng Hui.
It would also help protect the interests of rural people and increase their incomes, he said.
Signing of the agreement, say economists, indicates China's financial institutions are boosting support for the development of agriculture and the rural economy.
Increasing rural incomes is one of the key initiatives of central government this year.
Premier Wen Jiabao said last week the government intends to stabilize, improve and strengthen policy support for agriculture.
Policy factors favourable for rural people's income growth will continue to top the agenda, said Qi Jingmei, with the State Information Centre.
However, apart from policy support, higher grain prices were a major factor behind last year's increase, said Qi.
(China Daily 03/11/2005 page1)