China moves to stabilize 2011 grain production over 500m tons

Updated: 2011-03-18 09:46
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BEIJING - China is taking measures to stabilize its grain production as severe drought in its major wheat belt triggers food security concerns.

China aims to keep its 2011 grain production over 1 trillion jin (500 million tons), according to Thursday's executive meeting of the State Council, or the Cabinet.

Also, the China State Council has developed relevant departments to take part in a national movement to promote harvests this year, according to a statement released after the meeting, which was presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The action will focus on increasing grain supplies of both abundant and scarce types of grain, spreading key technologies on disaster prevention and minimizing damage when it occurs in China's major grain producing areas.

China must adhere to the strict protection system for arable land, promote large-scale planting, and encourage farmers to increase the production of japonica rice, corn and minor cereals, the statement read.

The country also plans to push forward high-level farm construction techniques for water-saving irrigation and formulated fertilization, it said. Meanwhile, China will choose 50 counties and 500 towns with high yield potential to pilot a program for developing high production crops.

Agricultural technical personnel would also provide on-site guidance to farmers during the key farming season.

Further, agricultural departments would guarantee sufficient supplies of seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and diesel fuel, while cracking down on counterfeit goods, according to the statement.

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China should also strengthen efforts in disaster prevention and reduction, beef up the monitoring and early warning systems and enhance anti-disaster policy support.

The central government will earmark an additional 10 billion yuan to aid farmers and agricultural production, according to the statement.

In order to relieve the drought and guarantee China's food security, the central budget has allocated 12.9 billion yuan earlier this month for fighting the drought in eight affected provinces.

China, which has more than 1.34 billion citizens, has always been listed on the world's watch-list for a food crisis.