With absolute poverty eliminated, China is shifting its focus of rural work to all-round rural vitalization, entering a new stage in agricultural and rural development.
Solving issues related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers is the top priority for the Communist Party of China (CPC), Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed.
Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at the annual central rural work two-day conference, which closed in Beijing on Dec. 29, 2020.
With China at a historical juncture of marching toward its second centenary goal, the task of consolidating and extending the achievements of poverty alleviation, pushing forward all-round rural vitalization, and accelerating the modernization of the agricultural sector and rural areas is a major issue essential to the overall situation that deserves the high attention of the whole Party, Xi noted.
Zhang Qi, director of the China Institute for Poverty Reduction at Beijing Normal University, said that after the poverty alleviation victory, the focus of work relating to agriculture, rural areas, and rural people has gradually shifted from poverty alleviation to comprehensive promotion of rural vitalization. Consolidating and expanding the results of poverty alleviation has become an important task during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021–2025) period.
Starting from 2021, the focus of work relating to agriculture, rural areas, and rural people is to serve the modernization of agriculture and rural areas and fully implement the rural vitalization strategy, said Zheng Fengtian, deputy dean of the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Renmin University of China.
It is necessary to consolidate and expand the results of poverty alleviation and effectively align with rural vitalization, building a monitoring and assistance system to prevent the return to poverty, said Lu Hanwen, director of the Institute of Poverty Reduction and Development in the Central Region at Central China Normal University.
Lu also suggested improving the institutionalization level of public services such as education, medicine and healthcare, and social security, while promoting the extension of urban infrastructure and public services to rural areas, so as to constantly narrow the gap between urban and rural areas. It is also advisable to meet the demand for high-quality agricultural products in the urban market, continuously increasing the added value of agricultural products and agricultural production benefits.
Zhang suggested promoting agricultural supply-side structural reforms based on domestic circulation, and improving quality and efficiency based on consumer demand, thus achieving a seamless connection between production areas and consumption areas. On the premise of ensuring the basic self-sufficiency of grains and the absolute safety of rations, it is advisable to promote exports of advantageous agricultural products to increase rural people's income.
In addition, we must expand and improve consumption in rural areas. While focusing on increasing rural people's income, it is vital to gradually improve the social security system, the medicine and healthcare system, and improve e-commerce service and logistic distribution systems, and modern financial service systems in rural areas, so that rural people feel secure as they consume, can easily consume and want to consume.
Gong Qinlin, deputy dean of the School of Economics at Sichuan University, suggested increasing investment in agricultural science and technology to create a high-quality supply system that adapts to marketization. It is also important to promote research on key agricultural technology, and expand channels for rural people to increase their incomes.