Rural areas 'must be strengthened'
By Liu Li and Xiao Zhao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-30 05:50
Rural regions and agriculture are the weakest links in China's economic and
social development and they must, therefore, be continuously strengthened.
That was the message from a two-day Central Conference on Rural Work which
ended yesterday in Beijing.
Premier Wen Jiabao speaks at the Central
Conference on Rural Work in Beijing December 29, 2005.
It coincided with the abolition of China's 2,600-year-old agricultural tax
from Sunday, the first day of 2006.
The annual central rural meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao,
concluded that agricultural and rural development is "an uphill climb."
In light of the difficulty, the country must channel more construction funds
to the countryside and reinforce rural infrastructure.
In particular, more investment must go to rural education, health and other
social undertakings, a statement from the meeting said.
It said advances should be made in comprehensive rural reform, centred on the
reform of the rural tax and fee system, and steady progress must be achieved in
grain production to ensure food security.
China's grain production is expected to increase to 484 million tons in 2005,
14.5 million tons more than last year, Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin said
But 495 million tons of grain will be needed in 2006,
the minister was quoted by People's Daily as saying yesterday.