A senior agricultural official said that job losses and a decline in farm product prices will make it difficult for the government to boost rural incomes this year, Reuters reported. "The global financial crisis has made it more difficult in boosting farmers’ income in 2009," said Wei Chao’an, vice agricultural minister, speaking on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress. Wei said that about 10% of migrant farmers have lost their manufacturing jobs in the cities and that 80% of them are continuing to seek work in urban areas. He added that a decrease in export demand for farm products such as vegetables and apple juice will contribute to a "grim outlook" for improving farmers’ incomes in 2009. Narrowing the gap between urban and rural incomes has emerged as a top government priority this year.
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