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China won the battle against poverty and is pushing forward rural revitalization

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has been centering its efforts on the overall development of the Party and the nation, focusing on achieving the two centenary goals and working to prioritise affairs related to agriculture, rural areas and rural residents. We won the battle against poverty, eradicated absolute poverty, implemented a rural revitalisation strategy and made historic achievements and reforms regarding agricultural and rural areas. All of these have provided significant support to making new advancements on all fronts for the cause of the Party and the country.

First, the supply of grain and other major agricultural products remains stable, which provides an increasingly stronger foundation for safeguarding the nation’s food security. Ensuring the effective supply of grain and other major agricultural products is the top priority of affairs related to agriculture, rural areas and rural residents. By thoroughly implementing the food crop production strategy based on farmland management and technological application, we have managed to ensure the food supply for the Chinese people. Grain production capacity has increased steadily, with grain output exceeding 1.3 trillion jin (about 650 billion kilograms) for seven consecutive years and reaching another 100-billion-jin threshold in the past decade. The grain output in 2021, hit a record high of around 1.37 trillion jin, and the per capita share of grain reached 483 kilograms, which is above the international food security threshold of 400 kilograms. As a result, we have achieved basic self-sufficiency in cereal grains and absolute grain security. The variety of agricultural products has been diversified. The production of cotton, oilseed, sugar crops and natural rubber have seen stable development and the supply of meat, eggs, milk, aquatic products, fruits, vegetables and tea is sufficient. The quality of agricultural products continues to improve and be upgraded. More than 97% of agricultural products have met the quality and safety standards during routine monitoring and a growing number of green and high quality agricultural products can be found in ordinary Chinese households.

Second, we have secured a complete victory in the fight against poverty, which is a historic achievement. Based on the current standard, all 98.99 million impoverished rural residents have shaken off poverty, and all 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 villages have been removed from the poverty list. With regional poverty being eliminated, we have embarked on a path of poverty alleviation with Chinese characteristics. First, the living standards of people who have been lifted out of poverty have seen remarkable improvements. All of them have sufficient food and clothing and enjoying strong support, including compulsory education, basic medical care, safe housing and safe drinking water. Second, the once-impoverished regions now have a strong development capacity. Every county that has shaken off poverty has created two or three leading industries with distinctive features and greater capacity to facilitate poverty alleviation efforts. Problems related to transportation, electricity supply and telecommunication services have been solved. Third, achievements in poverty alleviation have been continuously consolidated. We have introduced 33 policies for the transition period after poverty alleviation and established monitoring and assistance mechanisms to prevent people from slipping back into poverty. We have also designated 160 key counties to receive assistance in pursuing rural revitalization and are offering them more support, and managed to ensure that people do not return to impoverishment in large numbers.

Third, agricultural technologies and machinery have seen remarkable advancements, and the modernization of agriculture has been raised to a new level. To develop modern agriculture to its full potential, we have been working to transform the agricultural sector so that it can be less reliant on natural resources and more driven by innovation. There are three sets of figures that speak volumes of our achievements. First, more than 54% of cropland is effectively irrigated. A total of 900 million mu (60 million hectares) of high-standard cropland has been added, with a group of modernized irrigation facilities put in place. This has mitigated the impact of weather conditions on agricultural production. Second, advances in agricultural science and technology have contributed to 61% of agricultural production. We have built 50 modern agrotechnology systems at the national level and set up 47 national laboratories as well as 100 agriculture-related scientific observation and experiment stations. A series of landmark achievements have emerged, such as drought-resistant and water-efficient wheat, super-hybrid rice and white-feathered broiler products. More than 95% of agricultural germplasm resources are self-sufficient. These achievements show that science and technology have become the most important drivers behind the growth of agriculture and the rural economy. Third, the overall level of mechanization in plowing, sowing and harvesting has exceeded 72%, and for wheat production has exceeded 97%, realizing mechanization in almost the entire wheat production process. The level of mechanization in livestock and aquaculture farming and facility agriculture (agriculture making extensive use of polytents and similar equipment) have also seen relatively large improvements.

Fourth, rural revitalisation got off to a good start, and rural areas are taking on a fresh look. Rural industries have been experiencing a boom, and accelerated transformation and upgrading have been witnessed in sectors regarding the processing and circulation of agricultural products. New business models such as leisure tourism and livestreaming e-commerce continue to emerge. Thus, a group of modern agricultural industrial parks has been established. Rural living environments have seen remarkable improvement, with more than 70% of rural households now having access to sanitary toilets, and remarkable progress being seen in the treatment of domestic waste and sewage. The countryside thereby looks generally clean, tidy, and orderly. Infrastructure in rural areas has been improved and upgraded, with more projects and facilities being constructed in terms of water and electricity supply, transportation, broadband, schools, and hospitals. The improvement of people’s well-being has achieved new progress. Stepped-up efforts have been made to promote rural areas with sound governance. The rural governance model based on self-governance, rule of law, and rule of virtue, is improving. Primary-level Party organisations in rural communities are playing a more crucial role, and cultural and ethical progress in rural areas has been witnessed. Moreover, continued efforts have been made to update outmoded and undesirable habits and customs. Thus, rural governance has been more efficient.

Fifth, all-around rural reforms have been deepened, and development in rural areas has become a new driver of growth. Deepened reform is the most important means to advance all-around rural revitalization and a system framework and relevant policies to promote rural revitalisation have basically been established. First, improvement has been witnessed in the working system and mechanism which ensure the Party’s leadership over issues relating to agriculture, rural areas and farmers. The CPC Central Committee has issued a set of regulations for the rural work, and a law on the promotion of rural revitalization has also been adopted, thus establishing a working mechanism under which central government is responsible for overall planning, provincial-level governments assume overall responsibility, and city and county governments are responsible for programme implementation, and the Party secretaries at the five administrative levels of province, city, county, township and village are responsible for rural revitalization. Second, major reforms have been advanced in a steady manner. In order to ensure issues related to farmers’ land are handled properly, we have advanced system reforms to separate ownership rights, contract rights, and use rights for contracted rural land, as well as reforms to the rural collective property rights system and the system of land use for rural housing. A series of mature systems thereby have been established, which will tackle fundamental problems and deliver long-term benefits. Third, a basic mechanism for integrated urban-rural development has been established. Rural residents are now covered by basic pension schemes, and a unified basic medical insurance system for urban and rural residents has been established. In 2021, the per capita disposable income for rural residents was 18,931 yuan, more than twice that of 2012, with their working conditions and living standards being greatly improved.

President Xi Jinping always uses the method of seeing history from a broader perspective when it comes to the issues related to agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, therefore he has personally planned, deployed, and promoted the important work regarding issues related to agriculture, rural areas, and farmers. He has proposed a series of important new thoughts and propositions from a political, strategic, and comprehensive perspective and provided theoretical and practical answers to a series of questions. This has thus offered a programme of action and fundamental guidelines for work regarding issues related to agriculture, rural areas, and farmers in the new era. China shall make further endeavor based on what have been achieved and advance all-around rural revitalization to promote the efficiency and quality of the agricultural sector, make rural areas suitable to live and work in, and ensure that farmers are affluent and well-off.

Li Bijian, "China won the battle against poverty and is pushing forward rural revitalization," Business recorder. 2022-07-16.
Keywords: Economics , Food security , Medical care , National congres , Medical insurance , Agricultural industrial , Pension schemes , Comrade Xi Jinpin , China , CPC

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