Incomes for farmers grew 12.1% in the first quarter of the year but the good news was counterbalanced by higher costs. The jump in income was the largest in a decade, the South China Morning Post reported. The average income rose to US$163 in the first quarter, up US$21.50 from a year ago with per capita cash income jumping 15.2%. Meanwhile, real growth for urban residents was 16.6% in the past three months, 5.8% more than the growth a year ago. Rural incomes have lagged behind urban ones, despite Beijing's efforts to boost the sector through rural tax cuts and subsidies. This year's hike in income may be due to higher grain prices last year. The Consumer Price Index jumped 2.7% in the first quarter, said a spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, but 1.5% of that was the higher cost of grain. Food prices also rose in the first quarter by 6.2%. Despite the increases, which could represent high incomes for farmers, rural residents were also hit by larger consumer prices which grew 3.1% in the first quarter compared to 2.5% during the same period in 2006.