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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

China: Major Agrarian Reform Needed

KRVN Agricultural News:

China's Rural Crisis " 'As long as the amount of land doesn't change, farm incomes can't change,' "

So says Shi a farmer from Dagaokou, 70 miles northeast of Beijing.

As urban incomes skyrocket rural incomes continue to decline relative to the cities. The linked articles talks to some farmers about the ways they make ends meet, usually by holding down other jobs or being involved in small business.

China's wheat crops are in decline and have been for some years (see post below) and there are many reasons and the one mentioned by Shi is only one albeit an important one.

In a modern era small farm lots are not economic or efficient. Plots of the size mentioned in the article ( 3.5 hectares) are ridiculous for most commercial crops let alone wheat. Economies of scale just are not there.

Also state ownership of land is holding back production. The article quotes one farmer saying what he would do with the land to improve it if he owned it. He states he is not going to spend his hard earned money adding value to and improving the land if he does not own it.

Agrarian reform is going to be a huge task for the Chinese Government. Until there is private ownership of property farmers will not invest and farm sizes will not change to allow for increased efficiencies.

Linked Article Read Rating: Worthwhile