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Rural reforms dig deeper

China Daily | Updated: 2013-12-26 07:37

Improving the living standards of rural villagers is key to building a well-off society by the year 2020. This is how important rural work is, as described at the Party's conference on rural work, and this points to what improving the lives of rural residents means to the future of this country.

Despite 10 consecutive years of bumper harvests, agriculture will hardly have a solid basis for sustainable development if rural villagers continue to be poor without any chance of becoming rich by working in the fields. This explains why solving the problem of "who will farm in fields" is considered strategically relevant not only to agriculture and rural development, but also to the country's economic development and social progress as a whole.

Making agricultural production a lucrative and attractive business is the goal of the reforms that the central authorities will carry out in a down-to-earth manner.

Still, one of the topics discussed at the two-day conference which concluded on Tuesday was turning the 100 million or so villagers-turned-workers permanently working in cities into real urban residents, and doing the same for a similar number of such workers in western China by 2020.

At the same time, it was made clear that greater efforts will be made to change the traditional mode of agricultural production and also the rural way of life. In this process, rural villagers' contracts to the land they farm will be protected, but they will have the right to lease their land use rights to others. In this way, modern agriculture on the basis of family farms and large-scale rural cooperatives and specialized agricultural production households can be developed to raise production efficiency and increase the incomes of those engaged in agricultural production.

However, given the unbalanced rural development and different geographical conditions in different rural areas, it will be no easy job turning this rosy picture of rural development into reality. What will be badly needed is the capability to solve one problem after another in an effective manner.

Another factor, related to this one, will be properly coordinating the government's role and the function of the market, especially for labor and farm produce. How to let each tap its potential remains a challenging task to be carried out efficiently.

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