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Grain output drops, farmers earn more
Updated: 2004-02-09 16:44

China's grain output in 2003 was 816.3 billion kilograms, a drop of 52.8 billion kilograms or 5.8% compared to that in 2002 and far from enough to satisfy the demand, a top official said in Beijing on Monday.

Chen Xiwen, deputy director of the office of the Central Financial and Economic Leading Group, told a press conference hosted by the State Council Information Office that China's national demand for grain last year reached 970 billion kilograms, but big amount of grain in warehouses coupled with imports helped to maintain the supply-demand balance.

He attributed the drop in grain output to the declined growing area and natural disasters, and predicted grain output this year is expected to top 910 billion kilograms with the central government's newly-announced policies to support grain production.

Chen said the per capita net income of rural people was 2,622 yuan (US$317), 146 yuan more than that of the previous year, marking an actual increase of 4.3%.

The current number of China's rural migrant workers reached 99 million, an increase of 5 million over the previous year. The money they earn in cities is one of the factors contributing to the rising average income level of the rural population.

In order to further raise farmers' income, the central government issued a document on policies for boosting the growth in the income of farmers, accounting for 900 million out of China's 1.3 billion population.

It urges stronger support for grain production in major grain-producing areas to help raise the income of grain farmers. Resources will be concentrated for the construction of a number of state-class high-quality special grain production bases beginning this year.

The document points out that if farmers' income remains stagnant for long, their living standards will be affected; moreover, grain production and the supply of agricultural products will be impaired.

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