Agricultural reform powers China’s rise

Villagers stage a performance to welcome tourists in Tongmu Village in Tongren, Guizhou province, on August 27. HU PANXUE/XINHUA

According to Rana Mitter, professor of history and politics of modern China at the university, China’s economic transition from a largely rural society to a mostly prosperous society has been faster than any other in the world, thanks to national efforts to eradicate extreme poverty from Oxford.

“People who live in cities tend to have higher incomes than people who live in the countryside. Not always, though, and it depends on how you define these terms. there is an opportunity to increase their per capita income,” Mitter said.

He noted that better investment in the countryside has led to major changes, including a move away from small individual parcels of land towards larger agribusiness developments.

According to a World Bank report, the contribution of higher agricultural productivity to poverty reduction has resulted in higher incomes for farmers and freeing up surplus labor for other sectors and urban areas.

This allowed households to diversify their sources of income and take advantage of better-paying non-agricultural work opportunities both locally and as migrant workers.

China’s industrialization played a key role in its growth and poverty reduction.

Figures show that industrial value added increased at a compound annual real rate of 10.3 percent between 1978 and 2020.

New industries such as e-commerce have also helped lift people out of extreme poverty as China’s combination of technology and consumption has made it the world’s largest e-commerce market.

“China is one of the most innovative countries in terms of technology, along with the United States, Israel, South Korea and the United Kingdom,” Mitter said.

What this transformation has done, he noted, is the creation of a multitude of opportunities and efficiencies that lead to new forms of employment and economic prospects, while increasing individual incomes.

The Oxford professor pointed to market-oriented reforms as another driver of economic opportunity.

“China has been quite distinctive but also successful in creating markets in a whole range of areas that have increased the economy’s overall growth capacity,” he said. “Over the past 20 years, China’s position as a supplier in global supply chains has been a really important part of its overall growth and development. And that was because of its placement in the global market as a whole.”

Wang Yi, associate professor of marketing and tourism at Nottingham University Business School China, said, “Absolute poverty has been eliminated, which has greatly contributed to global poverty alleviation. China has been quite successful in reducing poverty over the past decade. The government is not only tackling the income issue, but is also focusing on well-being and the living environment.”

Wang also referred to the government’s anti-poverty financial grants.

“Almost 20 million poor people have received subsidies and special emergency assistance. In addition, the government has encouraged entrepreneurs to set up in rural areas to varying degrees and supported rural entrepreneurship,” she said.

“These efforts have worked in China because government policies ensure efficient implementation at the rural level. At the same time, it creates flexibility at the local level to seize opportunities and develop further.”


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