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Rural vitalization an ongoing process

Li Lei/Zhao Yimeng
Updated: Mar 06,2021 10:06 AM    China Daily

China will continue to develop areas that have recently emerged from poverty, bolster agricultural production and improve working and living conditions in rural regions, the Government Work Report said on March 5.

The efforts are meant to consolidate and expand benefits resulting from the poverty relief campaign, which, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, lifted more than 55 million rural residents out of extreme poverty during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20) and eradicated poverty from the Chinese mainland.

Counties that have left poverty behind will be given a five-year "transition period", during which major assistance will remain unchanged, said the report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5 at the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

Authorities will roll out follow-up support for those resettled from inhospitable areas, and step up assistance to prevent people from falling back into poverty, the report said.

Officials will work to ensure that rural migrant workers-who are more vulnerable to salary defaults-receive their pay on time and in full, and accelerate the development of rural industries while strengthening county-level economies to create local jobs, it said.

As China transitions from poverty relief to a focus on vitalizing its vast countryside, the report said a number of once-impoverished counties in western regions will be chosen for rural vitalization assistance.

China will strive to make key technological breakthroughs in agriculture, better protect croplands and prevent such areas from being used for nonagricultural purposes to ensure food safety, it said.

China will also move to stabilize hog production and prevent animal and plant diseases, it added.

"We are resolved to ensure food security for our 1.4 billion people, and we know we can achieve this," Premier Li said while delivering the report.

A report delivered at the meeting by the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic regulator, said that 98.99 million rural residents had been pulled out of poverty since late 2012.

The commission will consolidate these achievements. It will also prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas, and push for agricultural and rural modernization, the report said.

Tang Renjian, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said on the sidelines of the legislative session that China has succeeded in poverty eradication after eight years of effort, and infrastructure in rural areas has significantly improved.

However, Tang said many of the achievements have only been at the village level, and shortfalls remain in work at the household level.

"We will extend better infrastructure in terms of water, electricity, roads, gas and housing to each village and household," he added.

The main roads in villages have to be built to facilitate agricultural life and production and further boost local businesses and tourism. Local governments will improve storage facilities and cold chain logistics to facilitate the circulation of agricultural products, Tang said.

Meanwhile, public services such as access to education, healthcare, and elder care will be further enhanced in villages, he said.

Finance Minister Liu Kun said that his ministry will set up special funds and subsidies totaling 156.1 billion yuan ($24.1 billion) this year, a year-on-year increase of 10 billion yuan, to ensure the five-year transition toward rural vitalization.

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