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Creating More Channels for Increasing Rural Incomes

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-08-25

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, rural incomes have been growing at a rapid pace, resulting in a drop in the urban-rural income ratio from 2.88 to 2.45. However, the income gap between urban and rural areas, regions, and groups remains significant. Moreover, momentum for rural income growth has slowed, and the outlook for future growth has become less optimistic.

It is vital that we develop more avenues for rural residents to increase their incomes, with a focus on improving long-term mechanisms that will deliver sustained, rapid increases. With this, our rural residents will have more and more money in their pockets and enjoy an increasingly better life.

We should harness the potential of industries to increase incomes. The fundamental way to lift rural incomes is to develop rural industries. Of the five spheres of rural revitalization, industrial revitalization is the most important and should remain top of our agenda. The watchword in this regard should be “local specialty industries.”

By relying on unique resources, we can tap into the multiple functions of agriculture and leverage the diverse value of rural areas to develop distinctive rural industries. We should identify development opportunities based on local conditions and give play to multiplier effects arising from integration between primary, secondary, and tertiary industries.

We must focus on strengthening leading enterprises, shoring up weak industrial chains, developing new business models, and building brands to enhance the market competitiveness and risk resilience of rural industries.

For every lock, there is a different key. It should be up to market entities, such as farmers, farmers' cooperatives, and enterprises, to independently make choices based on their specific situations. Decisions and objectives should not be made on impulse.

We must focus on enhancing the ability of industries to drive overall development and adhere to the development orientation of increasing the prosperity of rural residents. Investments should be channeled toward key priorities. We must avoid schemes that run counter to our goals and resolutely guard against any use of arable land for purposes other than agriculture and grain production specifically.

We should guide enterprises and farmers in establishing benefit-linking mechanisms, ensuring more of the links in industrial chains extend to rural areas. This will enable rural residents to enjoy more of the value-added benefits of industrial development.

The incomes of rural migrant workers should also be ensured. The primary way to steadily increase rural incomes is to promote non-agricultural employment for the surplus rural workforce. Wage income makes up 42% of rural incomes and contributes to the bulk of rural income growth.

Therefore, it is necessary to improve policies for stabilizing payrolls and alleviating the difficulties of enterprises and to take steps to strengthen labor cooperation, cultivate labor service brands, and improve the professional skills of rural migrant workers. These measures will help ensure stable employment of rural migrant workers.

Currently, more than three-quarters of rural migrant workers are employed in their home province, and over half in their home county. This underscores the significant changes that have occurred in the distances between the homes and job locations of rural migrant workers.

We must adapt to this trend. With a county-wide approach, we should develop local industries that have clear comparative advantages, a strong ability to drive development, and large job-creation potential so as to support rural prosperity. County-level economies should be developed into major growth poles for rural incomes.