CCTV News / CNTV
CCTV News / CNTV
Nearly half of Chinese farmers
unwilling to move to cities
Nearly half of Chinese farmers unwilling to move to cities
04-21-2016 07:02 BJT
About half of Chinese farmers are unwilling to move to cities, despite government initiatives to accelerate urbanization. This is according to a recent report on the challenges posed by industrialization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization.
40-year-old Wang Jianbing had a great job in the city, with a salary good enough to raise his entire family there. But unlike most migrant workers who eke out a living in large cities, he decided to return to the countryside in 2008 to be a farmer. Now his farm is over 70 hectares.
"As a farmer, I have a strong feeling to the land. And I feel more comfortable staying in the countryside. Now that my parents are getting older, it’s easier to take care of them if I live here," Wang Jianbing, farmer from Wuhan, said.
Wang is not alone in his sentiment. A report says that nearly half of the Chinese farmers polled are unwilling to move to cities. 51 percent showed an interest in moving, but only 11.83 percent indicated a high interest. The remaining 49 percent say they do not want to leave their rural hometowns for a variety of reasons.
The cost of living in big cities is much higher than back home. I can save much more than before after coming back from the city. Most importantly, I can go home every day and take care of my family.
The reason I came back is because education costs too much for my children in the big cities. And my health insurance cannot cover if I visit a doctor.
According the report, the top five reasons farmers continue to stay in villages are: ageing, a lack of skills, the unwillingness to leave farming behind, unfamiliarity with cities, and having no one to take care of their children or parents,
Many think that the country’s initiatives to encourage farm cooperatives are working. By accelerating rural land transfers and granting higher subsidies to large-scale landholders, many migrant workers feel encouraged to establish bigger, specialized farming units back home.
"The country is encouraging urbanization, while at the same time investing to build a modernized agriculture. Migrant workers who have saved money after years of working in the big cities now have more opportunities to build family farms or rural cooperatives, and inspire others to come back," Ke Fengying, director of Hubei Provincial Agricultural Bureau, said.
However, many say that the return of migrant workers to rural areas is a barrier to China's urbanization process.
In China's 13th Five-year Plan, it aims to increase its urbanization rate from 56.1 percent in 2015 to 60 percent by 2020. But statistics show that the growth rate of migrant workers is falling year by year, from 5 percent in the past to 0.4 percent in 2015.
"I think we should respect the farmers’ own will. In my opinion, urbanization is not merely about the migration of people to the big cities. We should invest in the building of small-sized communities with approximately 5000 people, in case they all go to big cities. On the other hand, we also need to encourage those who would like to stay in the countryside," Deng Daping, dean of Central China Normal University, said.
And for the migrants who wish to stay in the cities, the country needs to solve their problem of "hukou", or household registration system, and grant them the same access to social benefits.
CCTV News / CNTV
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