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Rural regions set to get US$9.5b investment

CHINA'S central government will invest 65 billion yuan (US$9.5 billion) on infrastructure and services in the vast and poor countryside to help farmers cope with the economic downturn, the Cabinet said yesterday.

The move to support the agricultural sector includes investing in pig raising and dairy farming and improving grain production, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Infrastructure investment will focus on building rural facilities for farmers' education and health, water supplies, electricity, roads and communications, a Cabinet report said. The government will also work to boost the employment of rural migrant workers, raise rural credit and strengthen import and export controls, it said.

China's economy has slowed with growth in the first quarter slumping to its lowest rate in more than a decade.

The wealth gap between China's city-dwellers and its farmers continues to widen, impeding efforts by the government to help the countryside catch up.

Factories have closed forcing millions of migrant workers to return to their families in rural regions who depend on their incomes.


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