China's government will step up efforts to stimulate rural consumption and raise rural living standards to promote economic growth and ensure social stability, said a statement released Monday at the conclusion of the Central Conference on Rural Work."The remarkable achievement of the nation's rural development had consolidated the basis for the economic recovery, and contributed to the social harmony and stability," said the statement.The government would continue to improve farmers' lives as a crucial plank in its efforts to rebalance income distribution, said the statement.It would keep stimulating rural consumption, which was significant to drive domestic demand, according to the two-day meeting which laid out work for next year's agricultural and rural development."Despite the impacts of the economic downturn and the severe drought that hit central and north China early this year, rural development was sound and maintaining good momentum," said the statement.Grain yield this year was expected to hit a record 530.8 billion kilograms, which would be the sixth consecutive year of output growth, it said.The per capita annual net income of Chinese farmers rose to a high of 5,000 yuan (US$735), up more than 6 percent from a year ago.
The statement also described the situation for the agriculture and rural development as grim, as new problems continued to emerge, and some were unpredictable, adding the work for 2010 would rather be "complicated" and "difficult".Great efforts should be made to better coordinate urban and rural development, and guide more resources to the vast countryside, as well as agriculture, the foundation of the national economy, the statement said.The government would continue to push forward the urbanization to allow rural residents to enjoy equal public service with urban dwellers.Although rural residents comprise more than 70 percent of China's population, public resources are conventionally lean to the better-developed urban areas. That leaves a widening gap between the two, a perennial matter the government has vowed to solve.The annual conference is the highest-level meeting on rural work at which the government maps out policies and measures for next year's development of agriculture and rural regions. It is usually attended by senior officials of the State Council, China's Cabinet, and provincial-level officials.