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Meeting Shortage of Infrastructure and Public Service Is an Integral Part ofPoverty Reduction Through Development of Agricultural Industry

Source: Li Wu Date: 2018-03-14

Counselor of the State Council, Member of the 13th CPPCC National Committee and Research Fellow with the Vegetable Research Center of the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences

Since the 18th CPC Congress, the State Council, in accordance with the unified deployment of the CPC Central Committee, has made a host of specific arrangements for the implementation of the “five means for targeted poverty reduction” (namely, poverty reduction through production, relocation, ecological subsidies, education and social security). Significant achievements have been made in China’s poverty reduction with substantial drop in poor population. In the past five years, poor population in rural areas have decreased by 68.5 million in accumulative terms, a reduction of over 13 million per year on average. Such achievements have been recognized and acclaimed at home and abroad. China has a large number of poor population, and regions in extreme poverty take a large share. At present, work on poverty reduction has entered a critical stage. In his report made at the 19th CPC Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping marked that “We will resolutely win the battle against poverty. Seeing that poor people and poor areas will enter the moderately prosperous society together with the rest of the country is a solemn promise made by our Party. We should mobilize the energies of our whole Party, our whole country, and our whole society, and continue to implement targeted poverty reduction and alleviation measures. We will operate on the basis of a working mechanism whereby the central government makes overall plans, provincial-level governments take overall responsibility, and city and county governments ensure implementation; and we will strengthen the system for making heads of Party committees and governments at each level assume the overall responsibility for poverty alleviation. We will continue to advance poverty reduction drawing on the joint efforts of government, society, and the market. We will pay particular attention to helping people increase confidence in their own ability to lift themselves out of poverty and see that they can access the education they need to do so. We will strengthen collaboration on poverty alleviation between the eastern and western regions; and we will provide focused assistance to areas of extreme poverty. We must ensure that by the year 2020, all rural residents living below the current poverty line have been lifted out of poverty, and poverty is eliminated in all poor counties and regions. Poverty alleviation should reach those who truly need it and deliver genuine outcomes”.

In his Report on the Work of the Government made at the first meeting of the 13th National People’s Congress on 5 March, Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that “More efforts should be devoted to targeted poverty reduction. Rural poor population will be further cut by over 10 million and 2.8 million people will be relocated from inhospitable areas this year. Poverty reduction through industrial, educational, health and ecological means should be advanced, and shortage of infrastructure and public service should be met to boost indigenous impetus of poverty reduction”. Poverty reduction through development of agricultural industry is one major means of the “five means for targeted poverty reduction”. In their work on poverty reduction, local governments and all departments should first consider boosting development of agricultural industry that suits local conditions. In this respect, many best practices have been accumulated by different localities. However, when it comes to identifying projects of poverty reduction through agricultural industry, some localities are less conscientious in their survey and analysis of the market to which products of the aforementioned projects are to be sold. As a result, some profitable economic crops are overproduced too fast and crowed into the market all at the same time, and therefore sell poorly and become overstocked. And when it comes to project planning, some localities fail to incorporate into the overall plan commercialization and processing of products as well as installment of storage equipment and facilities. As a result, those agricultural industrial projects disconnect with the secondary and tertiary industries and prove not as effective in poverty reduction.

One holds that in order to sufficiently utilize poverty reduction funds, ensure targeted poverty reduction and alleviation, and sustain the effects of poverty reduction projects, we should pay attention to the following aspects when choosing agricultural industrial projects of specialist livestock and poultry, fruits, vegetables, flowers, Chinese herbal medicine, etc.

First, we should make thorough investigation and analysis of the market prospects of products and avoid blind development for the short-term goal of poverty alleviation, which would only result in the waste of poverty reduction funds.

Second, commercialization, processing and storage of agricultural products should be an important part of the overall development plan for agricultural industrial projects. Basic facilities and equipment for precooling, storage, preservation, drying, cleaning, grading and packaging should be supplied. Agricultural products should be commercialized through post-production treatment to extend their industrial chain and available time, so as to magnify the overall effect of poverty reduction projects.

Third, for leading producing areas where produce abounds, flagship agricultural industrial enterprises with brand, strength and market potential can be introduced to launch projects of intensive processing of agricultural products and processing of green agricultural products and, by means of modern food processing technology, produce modern food that meet the general and upgraded demand of consumers.

Fourth, product sales should be factored into the planning of poverty reduction through agricultural industrial projects. The government should create favorable conditions and environment for circulation of agricultural products for farmers, large entities of farming and animal husbandry, and enterprises of produce processing and sales and ensure that agricultural products and processed products find their way to the market through the Internet and e-commerce platforms, so that these products are not only of high quality, but also marketable and profitable.