Shang Xunwu, CPPCC National Committee Member and Professor at Gansu Agricultural University:
As the nationwide poverty alleviation campaign enters the final stage, local governments are working to achieve food security for people living below the poverty threshold and ensure universal access to free compulsory education, basic healthcare services and affordable housing. However, field investigations suggest that migrant workers are being hit hard by travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and farmers have difficulty getting their produce to consumers because of lockdowns.
To address these challenges, public investment should be leveraged to create job opportunities suitable for the rural workforce. Supportive policies should be introduced for micro- and small-sized businesses, allowing them to play a bigger role in supporting employment. Local governments should assess the impact of the pandemic on major agribusinesses, poverty reduction workshops and farmers’ cooperatives in order to produce effective policy tools to keep them afloat, including improving access to finance. Meanwhile, agribusinesses should improve product quality to make agricultural produce more attractive to consumers in regions with higher purchasing power.