The Nutritional Improvement Program (NIP), as one of the important poverty relief initiatives in less developed rural areas, has benefited more than 36 million Chinese rural students, a foundation emphasized on June 1.
The program was initially launched in November 2011 aiming for nutrition improvement for elementary and middle school students in impoverished areas. This program offers a financial aid of four yuan per student each day to build canteens or outsource their food supply. It also supplied free nutritional package for 24-month toddlers and provided nutritional information.
Liu Xin’an, an official with the Ministry of Finance, indicated that the central government will extend the NIP and continue its poverty alleviation policies.
Since the plan was launched in 2011, nearly 160 billion yuan ($23.4 billion) were allocated to improve the nutrition status of rural students, a report published by China Development Research Foundation said.
According to the report, the program had been extended to 1,590 counties in 29 provinces, which covered 134,000 schools in autonomous regions or municipalities, showing that the physical status of students from impoverished areas has significantly improved.
Before 2017, more than 43 million Chinese rural inhabitants were below the poverty line. Malnutrition was seen as a main reason in the less developed rural areas.
The central government has vowed to help rural areas out of poverty by 2020 to prosperity.
Since China’s reform and opening up period, over 700 million Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, occupying more than 70 percent of the worldwide poverty decrease during that period.