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Govt policies to assist farmers
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08:16, February 03, 2009

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The Chinese government will carry out a series of measures to stabilize the prices of agricultural products and increase farmers' income, a senior agriculture official told a press conference yesterday.

Chen Xiwen, director of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Rural Work, said the government will offer more subsidies, provide more advanced technology and improve public services to help farmers reduce their production cost.

"The subsidies to the agricultural production materials are expected to increase to 120 billion yuan this year, 17.1 billion more than last year," Chen said.

The government will also increase the lowest purchase price to avoid a big drop in the market price, he said. The new purchase price for grain in 2009 is up 13 to 16 percent over last year.

"This year, Chinese farmers will gain 110 billion yuan more from growing crops thanks to the increasing purchase prices," Chen said.

In addition to increasing government reserves, all companies and enterprises are encouraged to reserve more crops to enhance the demand for agricultural products.

Lastly, he said, because of sufficient supply for the domestic market, China will increase its export of grains to help ensure world food safety and maintain the balance of supply and demand at home.

Chinese farmers' net per capita income rose 8 percent last year, but it would be difficult to maintain that pace of growth in 2009, Chen said.

The figure was 4,761 yuan ($697) in 2008, the fifth consecutive year of 6-percent-plus growth.

Chen said farm incomes would be affected by the global economic crisis, which has reduced demand and the prices of many commodities.

Declining agricultural commodity prices and unemployment among migrant workers would constrain farmers' income growth in 2009, he said.

Source: China Daily

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