China / Society

China maps out agricultural consolidation plan

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-18 09:28

Currently, farm leasing among villagers is the most popular form of rural land transfer, but the proportion of land transfers to rural cooperatives and local enterprises has been growing.

In China, urban land is owned by the state and rural land is normally under collective ownership. While gradual reforms since the 1980s saw the trading of urban land evolve into a vigorous property market, land in the countryside has remained largely static as farmers mostly have rights to use, but cannot directly trade or mortgage them.

"In most regions, the time is actually already ripe for farmers to transfer their land use rights. President Xi Jinping once said that the work will mark another major innovation in rural reforms, " Han said.

However, there are challenges in carrying out the reform, in terms of how to protect farmers' land rights, enhance management of land transfer and offer support to new farmers.

For instance, some locales are forcing land transfers against farmers' will, which violates their rights, while some companies are renting transferred lands over long periods but their businesses are not related to agriculture, Han said.

The minister explained that the reform scheme strictly prohibits leasers of transferred lands from non-agricultural purposes.

To promote the gradual transfer of rural land use rights while preventing potential risks to farmers' interests, the first step would be the registration and confirmation of farmers' contracted lands by keeping clear registration records, issuing land rights certificates to them, and improving the terms of land-related contracts.

This will ensure farmers' proprietary and use rights over the contracted lands as well as their rights to benefit from land income. Meanwhile, the measure will provide evidence in solving contract disputes and deciding on compensation in case of land requisition, Han said.

He added that the country will promote the registration scheme nationwide in 2015. Chinese central authorities also announced late last year that the registration work will be completed in five years.

The minister said that the process of land transfer will evolve based on consultation.

"We cannot unilaterally pursue the speed of transfers for large-scale agriculture. The process will be pushed forward step by step based on the situations of different regions. How far it is promoted will also depend on the advancement of technologies and improvement to production methods."

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