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Article urges further improving grain production
( 2003-10-26 08:11) (Xinhua)

A Xinhua commentator's article Saturday called for further protecting and improving the country's grain production capabilities, echoing an executive meeting of the State Council held Tuesday.

The meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, said that the government would next year adopt more direct, powerful and clear- cut comprehensive policies on major agricultural issues, including the grain production.

Grain, a special commodity of strategic importance, is an important component of the national security strategies and the basis of the country's economic development, according to the commentator's article.

China is the world's largest developing country with its population taking up 22 percent of the world's total, but its farmland acreage was even less than 10 percent of that all over the world, making the food problem always a top issue.

The article said that a balance between grain supplies and demands involved the healthy and sustainable development of the national economy and the social and political stability.

China should rely on domestic production instead of the international market to solve its grain issue, as no country in the world could "feed" the 1.3-billion Chinese population, said the article.

The country's grain production still lacks the support of advanced technologies because of backward agricultural infrastructures. The article called it an urgent strategic task to protect and enhance the grain production capabilities and to keep increasing the grain output.

According to the article, farmland protection is a primary guarantee for maintaining grain production capabilities.

In recent years, some localities have used cultivated land for random building of various "development zones" or other profit- making purposes by some enterprises and individuals without government authorization, which can grow to be a potential threat to China's food security.

Resolutions adopted by the recent Third Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said that reforms on the mechanism and procedure of land requisition would be carried out to protect farmland and farmers' interests.

China's Land and Resources Ministry has already taken specific moves, planning to create 2.74 million hectares of farmland by 2010 through developing lands scattered around villages and reclamation of abandoned mining and construction sites.

The article urged local authorities to use rigid economic, administrative and even legal penalties against abuse of land resources.

The article also said the readjusting of agricultural structures should not be simply interpreted as reducing the acreage of farmland used for grain production.

It said that the readjustment of agricultural structures should promote both the farm produce of good qualities and the development of non-farm products and township enterprises, but not at the expense of grain production. The focus should be on the improvement of varieties and qualities, the article said.

Further reforms on the grain circulation system and reduction in agricultural tax, plus popularization of farming technologies, are also necessary for protecting and improving grain production capacity, the article said.

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