Farm­ers face woes af­ter los­ing their land

Higher liv­ing costs in cities, lack of skills ma­jor ob­sta­cles: sur­vey

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HOU LIQIANG houliqiang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ex­perts have urged the govern­ment to pay more at­ten­tion to the liveli­hoods of farm­ers who have lost their land.

The call comes as a re­search re­port re­leased on Fri­day shows that many farm­ers face dif­fi­cul­ties such as ris­ing liv­ing costs and in­suf­fi­cient skills train­ing.

Some 88 per­cent of the fam­i­lies sur­veyed are fac­ing higher liv­ing costs af­ter los­ing their land, ac­cord­ing to the re­search con­ducted by the Bei­jing-based So­cial Re­sources In­sti­tute, a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Af­ter farm­land and home­steads were req­ui­si­tioned, the an­nual aver­age liv­ing ex­pen­di­ture for each fam­ily in­creased by 21,069 yuan ($3,392), but their in­come rose by only 10,049 yuan, the sur­vey shows.

Due to rapid ur­ban­iza­tion, a large amount of farm­land and many home­steads have been ac­quired for other uses by the govern­ment. Farm­ers who lost their land gen­er­ally re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion in cash, or are moved to the cities.

The re­port said that al­though farm­ers are liv­ing in cities, many of them are not cov­ered by so­cial se­cu­rity as ur­ban­ites.

The re­port was based on a sur­vey of 66 fam­i­lies in the cities of Guiyang and Kaili in

of the fam­i­lies sur­veyed are fac­ing higher liv­ing costs af­ter

los­ing their land in­crease in aver­age an­nual liv­ing ex­pen­di­ture for each fam­ily (about $3,392) af­ter los­ing their land, but their in­come

rose by only 10,049 yuan Guizhou prov­ince.

The sam­ple num­ber was not large, but only cer­tain sam­ples were cho­sen in each area, as many farm­ers in the same area would give sim­i­lar re­sponses, said Li Yi­jie, a re­searcher at the So­cial Re­source In­sti­tute, who took part in the sur­vey.

The sur­vey also found that more than 90 per­cent of fam­i­lies who lost their home­steads are not sat­is­fied with the com­pen­sa­tion pay­ments they re­ceived. They say the re­set­tle­ment pay­ments are only suf­fi­cient for them to buy an apart­ment. Some farm­ers who were given apart­ments as com­pen­sa­tion said they could not earn ex­tra in­come from the apart­ments, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Li said the vo­ca­tional train­ing the lo­cal govern­ment of­fered to the farm­ers was not prac­ti­cal. “Many farm­ers, af­ter re­ceiv­ing the train­ing, still raise chick­ens in their new apart­ments.”

She said many women stayed at home as house­wives, and were un­cer­tain about what to do in the fu­ture.

“The lo­cal govern­ment should change its old-fash­ioned way of train­ing,” Li said. “It should take the farm­ers’ abil­ity into con­sid­er­a­tion and sat­isfy their real needs.”

Li Ling, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Bei­jing Vo­ca­tional Col­lege of Agri­cul­ture, said many farm­ers may be­come poor again af­ter us­ing up the com­pen­sa­tion money be­cause they lack the skills to make money to sup­port them­selves in cities. He said his re­search in Bei­jing last year found that some farm­ers whose land was taken a few years ago had re­turned to poverty.

“Be­sides vo­ca­tional train­ing, psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­sel­ing should be of­fered to those farm­ers, as many of them have no idea about how to in­te­grate them­selves into ur­ban life,” Li said.

He also sug­gested lo­cal gov­ern­ments leave some land for pro­duc­tion.

Sun Bingyao, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at the In­sti­tute of So­ci­ol­ogy un­der the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said pro­ducer co­op­er­a­tives should be in­tro­duced for land left for pro­duc­tion.

“Farm­ers can be­come share­hold­ers in a co­op­er­a­tive by con­tribut­ing their land and get­ting an an­nual div­i­dend from the co­op­er­a­tive, in­stead of sell­ing all the land and get­ting a large sum of com­pen­sa­tion all at once,” Sun said.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Land and Re­sources, more then 1.27 mil­lion hectares of land was ac­quired na­tion­wide from 1999 to 2005, tak­ing 40 mil­lion farm­ers away from their land. The num­ber of farm­ers los­ing their land is still in­creas­ing an­nu­ally by more than 2 mil­lion and will reach 100 mil­lion by 2020.

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