In addition to improving the principal yield of agricultural
units, the post-Mao economic reforms greatly stimulated sideline
production in rural areas. Before 1984 sideline production
generated by production brigades, production teams, and households
included hunting, fishing, collecting wild herbs, and producing
family handicrafts, as well as various kinds of industry, commerce,
transportation, and services. Sideline industrial output included
fertilizer, farm machinery, textiles, bricks, electrical
appliances, and various consumer goods. Sideline industrial
activities also included processing cotton, grain, and oilseeds;
mining coal, iron ore, and gold; and dredging gravel and sand.
Among the services included in sideline output were barbering,
entertainment, and catering. As part of the sideline economy, rural
entities transported people and goods and operated retail stores;
rural construction groups built dams, factory sites, roads, and
houses. Of all kinds of sideline production, the state counted only
the industrial output of enterprises operated by counties and
communes in its total industrial output.
Output rose so rapidly that by 1985 the value of production
generated in sidelines exceeded the value of principal crop and
livestock production. To make the gross value of agricultural
output more realistically represent agricultural production,
statisticians in 1985 limited sideline production to hunting and
fishing, collecting wild herbs, and producing family handicrafts.
After 1985, therefore, there were at least three aggregate measures
of economic performance: gross value of output; gross value of
agricultural output (crops, livestock, forestry, aquatic, and
sideline); and gross value of rural society, which included the
gross value of agricultural output plus the value of rural
industrial, transportation, construction, and other output
(see Rural Industry
, ch. 7).
Data as of July 1987