Decline in Rural Incomes


Nov ,19: According to statistics available in the recent report compiled by Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant, China’s objectives of removing poverty are yet to make a significant difference to farmers. The report states that China's countryside is "returning to poverty" as it is affected by the economic slowdown, the ongoing trade war with America and the widening rural and urban divide. The think tank which compiled the report is associated with the China’s agriculture ministry.
Ma Wenfeng, an analyst from Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant, claims that the current situation in China is not optimistic, and adds that the countryside is returning to poverty. (South China Morning Post, October 6, 2019). This latest report indicates that commercialisation has not addressed structural issues that stand in the way of improving the lives of most Chinese farmers. Many experts trace the roots of this problem to China's land policy, which dates back to the late 1950s. After redistributing land from rich to poor farmers, the party quickly moved to nationalise farm plots, which have remained government-owned ever since..
The latest report claims that rural income has been in decline since 2014 and has fallen by another 20 per cent in the first half of 2019. According to the firm’s analysis based on government data, rural per capita income excluding the proportion from migrant workers fell to 809 Yuan (US$ 114) at the end of June this year, compared with the 1,023 Yuan (US$ 145) at the end of 2018. One major impediment to enhancing farm income is that farmers in China do not own the land they till. All land is state-owned and farmers have the right to use it under a renewable 30-year lease.
Additionally, growth in China’s total rural disposable income per capita – including migrant workers – has slipped, from 13 per cent in 2012 to 9 per cent in 2018, according to China’s NBS. The figure for 2018 was 14,617 Yuan (US$ 2,067) which was less than half of the 39,250 yuan (US$ 5,551) recorded in urban areas, but 90 per cent of it was accounted for by migrant workers in cities sending remittances home, thus demonstrating that migrant workers are contributing more to rural disposable income, than rural householders.