China on Thursday pledged to spend an additional 120 billion yuan ($17.53 billion) to boost the country's agriculture.
Central government spending on agriculture, farmers and the rural areas would total 716.1 billion yuan in 2009, a year-on-year increase of 120.6 billion yuan, said a government work report to be delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the Second Session of the 11th National People's Congress.
Calling agriculture the "foundation of the economy", the report, distributed to the media before the opening of the session, says the investment is part of a package plan to ensure steady and rapid economic development amid the global financial crisis.
The money would be used for construction of rural public facilities, expanded agricultural subsidies to farmers, subsidies for the purchase of agricultural machinery and tools, and spending on agricultural science and technologies.
"We will effectively keep the area planted in grain crops stable, focus on increasing the yield per unit area and optimizing the variety mix, and increase the country's grain production capacity by 50 million tons," the report reads.