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Govt announces new initiatives to protect farmlands

By Wang Xiaodong | | Updated: 2020-09-18 19:27
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Combine harvesters bring in a crop of red sorghum at a farm in Nenjiang, Heilongjiang province, in October. WU SHUJIANG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Various strict measures will be taken to protect farmland in China to ensure food security, senior officials said on Friday.

Transport authorities across the country will try their best to avoid using farmland in the planning and design of roads, and adopt alternatives such as building bridges and tunnels to minimize encroaching farmland when using farmland is necessary, Zhou Rongfeng, an official in charge of road supervision at the Ministry of Transport, said at a news briefing of the State Council Information Office.

Constructors will also try to avoid using farmland while building roads and restore farmland if possible, he said.

Zhang Wei, chief for ecology protection and restoration at National Forestry and Grassland Administration, said that forestry and grassland authorities nationwide should better protect farmland when advancing landscaping.

For example, plants used for landscaping will not be able to grow on farmland, and supervision over wetland parks will be strengthened to prevent them from encroaching farmland, he said.

Wu Hongyao, a senior official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said at the news briefing that China has been adopting the strictest standards for farmland protection and conservation, but problems such as using farmland for non-agricultural purposes still exist in some areas.

In addition to preventing the loss of farmland, more measures should also be taken to improve the quality of existing farmland to improve food security, he said.

The Sate Council, China’s Cabinet, released a circular last week targeting using farmland for purposes other than agriculture in some areas, which called for intensified supervision to stop encroaching farmland to ensure food security in China.

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