China faces a massive task in making sure its rural areas don’t fall further behind the growing urban economy, agriculture minister Han Changfu said at Boao yesterday.
The country’s farm sector needs to be modernised and entrepreneurs should be supported in returning to rural areas to open businesses, Han said. So far, a central feature of China’s efforts to reduce rural poverty has been encouraging farmers to move to the city to find work.
Rural revitalisation has been given priority status by Beijing, with President Xi himself urging local authorities to pursue policies that boost rural industry.
The income gap between the countryside and urban zones remains considerable, however. The average rural resident earned roughly RMB13,400 ($2,130) last year, whereas city dwellers took in RMB33,800, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.