China’s Rural Story

China’s countryside has popped up in the news off-late, because of how it contributes to the country’s economic development. There isn’t a lot of agricultural land in China, even though geographically, it is the third biggest country in the world. Most of the farmers own small pieces of land, have a low income, and have a really hard life. There is not enough labour to meet rural China’s demands, so most of the land is unused, farmed ineffectively.

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There is not enough competitive behaviour, or productive use of technology, or too much of construction is always going on to overturn farm marshlands into a developed rural neighbourhood. Food security and a dependable rural infrastructure, is crucial to building a sustainable environment, which is well-suited to the country’s society and politics. Because over the years, China has seen such a rapid expansion pouring into the cities, the countryside has been left neglected.

Some number crunching, from 2013, reveal that farmers in China earn somewhere around 9,000yuan annually, but the city dwellers average an income, a little greater than 26,955yuan. Wherever industrial development has gone, so has a higher income: the east sees more affluent homes, families than the west. A brain drain has ensued, in the envelope, of all of this modernisation: most of the young/working-age population, who gain a good education, travel to the cities.

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In rural China, some 70percent of the population, have only attained a primary and middle school education. So, most are unable to operate the technology that exists to help drive farming forwards. In China, the constitution dictates that farms belong to ‘collectives’ rather than to the state or to farmers, themselves. You can contract cultivated land, for a period of time, be it grasslands, or forests. So, farmers do not have much free control over them, apart from earning their livelihood through harvests.

Better irrigation procedures, roads needs to be built to quickstart the rural development because farmers cannot already claim private ownership of lands, they have spent most of their days working on, and earning small incomes. When feudal Chinese society was at it’s peak, it emerged that private ownership, did nothing to benefit farmers financially. So many sold off their land at a cheap price, or ended up losing it, so Western practices in farming lands, is looked upon quite sceptically here.

There was societal unrest as the gap between the rich and the poor, widened, then. Some farmers could lose their farms due to bad management, poor farming, or natural disasters, in modern times, if private ownership was becoming to Chinese customs. This would then stave farmers off any income at all, so this idea should be thought more about as China gears up to put rural development, into motion.

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