Song Hongyuan, director of the Research Center for the Rural Economy in the Ministry of Agriculture [chinadaily.com.cn]
Income growth for Chinese farmers, threatened by the global financial crisis, will be one of the top priorities of this year's government agenda, China's senior rural economist told China Daily on Tuesday.
"With less job opportunities for migrant workers in the cities, income of farmers as a whole will suffer a sizable loss," said Song Hongyuan, director of the Research Center for the Rural Economy in the Ministry of Agriculture. According to Song, income earned by migrant workers contributes to more than half of the income of the entire rural population.
Song Hongyuan (L), director of the Research Center for the Rural Economy in the Ministry of Agriculture [chinadaily.com.cn]
Per capita income of China's rural population grew by 8 percent last year and has witnessed annual growth of more than 6 percent, or about 400 yuan ($58), in the past five years, said Song. "It's highly possible that this year's income growth of farmers will be less than last year's," he said.
The financial crisis is a serious threat to income growth for Chinese farmers. The central government's first policy document of the year, issued on Feb 1, said this year would be "the toughest year" so far in this century for agriculture and the rural economy given falling produce prices and the grim employment situation of migrant workers.