China’s policy of developing rural industry and other non-farming sectors was first introduced in 1958, along with the introduction of People’s Communes. At that time development focused on the simple processing of local farm produce (for example, rice and flour milling, beancurd making, oil pressing, noodle making, and so forth), handicrafts (woven straw pads and baskets, ginned cotton, and so forth), the manufacture and repair of farm tools (hoes, sickles, wheels, and so forth) and the processing of local industrial resources (iron, coal, charcoal, limestone, tile making, brick making, fertilizer, power generation, and so forth). These industries were operated on a small scale, using outdated techniques. They utilized local raw materials to meet the demands of local commune members. Very few factories used materials brought in from outside, nor did they manufacture for the external market. Very few non-farming activities took place in People’s Communes, other than the above industries, which were owned by the communes, and no private operations were permitted.
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- Growth of the Rural Non-Farming Sector and Rural Modernization
- Palgrave Macmillan UK