Regulate farmland lease market in suburbs

Updated: 2013-07-16 18:35


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The government should protect the legal interests of "migrant farmers", who come from remote hinterlands and rent farmland in suburban areas of cities, because they directly affect ecological conservation and food safety in the cities, said an article in the 21st Century Business Herald (excerpts below).

A research report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shed light on the issue. According to the report, there are at least 120,000 migrant farmers in Beijing and 130,000 in Shanghai. The landowners go to work in the cities as migrant workers, while migrant farmers work on the land.

About 70 percent of migrant farmers sign their land lease contracts on a yearly basis. Only 3 percent of lease contracts are longer than five years.

There is no specific supervision of or any regulations on this farmland rent market.

Rents for the land surge year by year, and prices of labor, chemical fertilizers and other agricultural production materials are also on the rise. Due to the pressure of cost increases, migrant farmers naturally try to squeeze as much benefit as possible from the land, without really considering environmental and food safety issues.

The excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers not only contaminates the soil and ground water, but also leave harmful residues on the food. The government should strengthen its supervision and regulation of the market to better protect the migrant farmers' legal interests and relieve the pressure on them.