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China's grain production ends years of sliding
Updated: 2004-08-26 21:37

China's summer grain and early rice output this year have posted a first-ever increase after declining for the past several consecutive years, said Vice Premier Hui Liangyu Thursday.

China's summer grain and early rice harvests have reached 101.05 billion kilograms and 33.5 billion kilograms this year, up by 4.8 percent and 14 percent from last year, he said in a report made at the 11th session of the 10th National People's Congress Standing Committee.

"It is a major turning point for this year's grain output," he said.

Hui was also optimistic about this year's autumn grain production, saying that the total yearlong grain output is likely to reach or surpass the projections made at the beginning of this year.

A series of polices and measures taken by the Chinese government to boost agricultural development have taken effect, said Hui. "Farmers' enthusiasm to grow crops has been stimulated and the agriculture has been strengthened in the macro-control."

Since the second half of last year, while controlling the overheating of some economic sectors, the Chinese government has increased its support for agriculture, transportation and energy.

To encourage farmers to plant more grain, the central government gave direct subsidies to crop growers. In addition, according to the government's No.1 circular issued early this year, agricultural tax rates will be slashed by one percentage point this year, and taxes on special farm produce, except tobacco leaves, will be abolished.

At the same time, China's local governments have been working hard to clear development zones to make way for grain production, while promoting reform in rural education, science and technology and health care.

Still, Hui said there remains much to be done to increase autumn grain output. He urged the enhancement of farm management, plant disease and pest control and ensuring a minimum purchase level for crops.

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