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Monday, July 03, 2006

Farmers in eastern China live better life

Farmers in east China's Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces have begun living a well-off life as they have more than enough to eat and wear, a report from the Ministry of Commerce said here Tuesday.
The food proportion in local household consumption expenditure, or the Engel's Coefficient, a popular index to evaluate the living standard, has been on the decline over the past few years, says the report.
In 2004, the per capita annual income of farmers averaged 3,642 yuan (about 440.39 US dollars) in Shandong, 4,754 yuan (about 574.85 US dollars) in Jiangsu and 6,096 yuan (737.12 US dollars) in Zhejiang, up 48.5 percent, 40.8 percent and 59.8 percent separately over 1998.
The average consumption expenditure of the three provinces has exceeded 3,000 yuan (372.76 US dollars). In Zhejiang alone, the average consumption expenditure of farmers is as much as 4,600 yuan (556.23 US dollars).
The report also reveals a palpable increase in the expenditure on communications, entertainment, medical care and transportation. Currently, about 50 percent of rural households in the three provinces own television sets; 35 percent of them have cellphones; 3.1 percent of them have computers and 2.6 percent have family sedans.
Meanwhile, the proportions of farmers intending to buy computers, cellphones and family sedans stand at 11.5 percent, 7.8 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.
Farmers of these provinces have paid increasing attention to the quality and safety of food, says the report.
With a population of 770 million, rural China has been viewed as a burgeoning market with gigantic potential.
If every farmer spends one more yuan, the market demand in China's national economy will grow two yuan. To have another percentage point of Chinese farmers have access to household appliances will require an extra output of 2.38 million, according to estimates of the National Bureau of Statistics.

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