LHASA, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- The government of Tibet Autonomous Region will spend more this year to improve the lives of farmers and herders, who comprise 80 percent of the 2.7 million population of this southwestern plateau region, local authorities have said.
The Tibet Regional Department of Finance will earmark about 2 billion yuan (277 million U.S. dollars) in 2008, 318 million yuan, or 29.5 percent, more than last year, to develop impoverished rural areas, a department spokesman said.
Nearly 677 million yuan, or about one third of the total, will be spent on building brick houses for farmers who now live in wood-and-earth structures and for nomadic herders to settle down, the spokesman said, adding that 52,000 farmers and herders will benefit from the project.
Another 616 million yuan will be used to build village recreation centers and public facilities such as water and power supply, transportation, communications and broadcasting and postal services, he said.
The rest of the money will go into a range of areas including water control projects, soil conservation, small hydropower stations, technical training for farmers, job creation for unemployed rural workers and subsidies for rural residents, he added.
The 2007 per capita income of farmers and herders in Tibet was 2,788 yuan, up 14.5 percent from a year earlier, or 7 percentage points higher than the national average, government statistics show.