BEIJING, Jan. 3 -- China's township enterprises have been given a growth target of 10 percent for 2009 to create employment and support farmers amid the global economic downtown.
Vice Agricultural Minister Gao Hongbin told a work meeting in late December that the industrial output of township enterprises had slowed in 2008 because of the stronger yuan, interruptions caused by natural disasters and rising costs of labor, energy and raw materials.
But the sector's growth still exceeded the double-digit level in the turbulent year of 2008, he said.
Estimates from the Ministry's Township Enterprises Bureau showed that the added value of rural enterprises is expected to reach 7.97 trillion yuan (about 1.17 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2008, up 11.62 percent from 2007.
However, the rise was down 2.65 percentage points from the previous year. Other estimated 2008 figures for township enterprises:
-- Tax revenue of 855 billion yuan, up about 12.8 percent.
-- Exports of 3.49 trillion yuan, up 11.4 percent.
-- Per capita revenue of farmers from township enterprises of about 1,650 yuan, about 210 yuan more than in 2007.
"After thirty years of development, township enterprises have blazed a trail for an agricultural economy such as China to solve the problem of rural development," said Gao.
China has more than 850,000 township enterprises that provide 30 million jobs. More than 40.12 billion yuan has been ploughed back into the agricultural industry since 1978, he said.
These small, mostly labor-intensive enterprises have developed a "very good interplay" with large state-owned enterprises by offering support services such as agricultural processing and resources development, Gao noted.
Although more than 70,000 township enterprises went broke last year amid stiff competition, many new ones entered the market with new projects.
Gao said the ministry was considering policies to encourage rural migrant workers to set up their own businesses, facilitate credit building in the country, strengthen quality control and inspire regional cooperation.