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Farmers Encouraged to Set up Economic Cooperatives

The Chinese government will further encourage more farmers to set up economic cooperatives, according to a government official.


Chinese Vice Minister of Agriculture Yin Chengjie recently told 50 Chinese mayors at a seminar that the ministry will offer more training and guidance to farmers in the coming years to encourage more farmers join economic cooperatives.


Yin said the cooperatives have become an important link between farmers and the market, which is vital if China is to boost modern agriculture and build a new socialist countryside.


According to ministry statistics, the 23 million members enrolled in the country's 150,000 economic cooperatives now account for 9.8 percent of the total rural households. These economic cooperatives have also benefited 32.45 million non-member households.


Statistics show that the economic cooperatives can bring an average increase of 500 yuan in annual income for each of their members. Last year the average income of China's farmers only increased by 300 yuan.


Development of these cooperatives is a key element of the country's drive to build a new socialist countryside, which is one of the government's priorities.


Yin recognized that the government needs to create a more favorable environment for the development of farmers' cooperatives. He called for a new law on farmers' cooperatives to be issued and put into operation as soon as possible.


A draft law on farmers' professional cooperatives has been submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's legislature, for the first deliberation on June 24, which will improve farmers' legal rights.


(Xinhua News Agency July 12, 2006)

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