Policy set to help landless farmers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2007, 12:00am

The government is calling for a nationwide social security system for landless farmers to be up and running by the end of this year.

According to a circular posted on the Ministry of Labour and Social Security website, land resources authorities should not approve land use applications by city or county governments that fail to adopt the social security policy.

'Provinces that haven't introduced measures [to implement the social security system] should try to do so by the end of this year ... [Governments] should include landless farmers into the social security system as soon as possible in order to make sure their living standards will not deteriorate,' the document said.

The circular said farmers, village collectives and local governments would have to contribute to a social security fund depending on their financial situations.

Governments should map out measures to regulate and supervise the social security funds, and details of the funds should be made public on a regular basis, it said.

Authorities will be held accountable for the implementation of the system, and labour and social security and land resources departments should better inspect land-use applications, the document added.

Fast disappearing farmland in the mainland has caused about 40 million farmers to lose their land over the past 10 years. Last year, the government estimated that 3 million more would lose their land every year during the 11th Five-Year Programme (2006-10).

Unfair land acquisitions and meagre, or sometimes no, compensation have triggered riots across the mainland. Farmers have protested against collusion between the government and developers, and outbreaks of violence have prompted the government to introduce policies that better protect rural residents.

In one recent protest, dozens of farmers from Hexi village in Qingdao , Shandong , barricaded themselves in their homes last week in an attempt to stop the demolition of their neighbourhood. The residents said the amount offered by the government was below the market value.