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China to modernize agriculture in new reform bid

( English.news.cn ) Updated: 2014-01-06 11:16:10

China has produced a miracle in being able to feed 22 percent of the global population using only 7 percent of the world's farmland, and it is now ready to push forward a new round of agricultural reforms.

A central rural work conference in December set out a series of reform measures aimed at protecting farmland and farmers' rights, and building a safety net for agricultural financing.

China's huge population means the task of simply feeding the people remains a high priority. China must rely on itself and pursue a national food security strategy of maintaining agricultural productivity, importing moderately, and employing science and technology, a statement after the conference said.

China has set a firm baseline that arable land never shrinks to less than 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares). The line should be strictly met, the statement stressed.

China's strong protection for arable land and promotion of efficient subsidies were strategic moves suitable for a populous country and conducive to global food safety, Choi Pil Soo, associate research fellow at Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, said.

Choi said China's policy orientation would help it avoid South Korea's mistakes in the early 1950s: the failure to protect arable land that weakened its agricultural foundation and generated a heavy reliance on imported agricultural products.

While sticking to collective land ownership, the Chinese government has decided to allow farmers to transfer or mortgage their contracted land, or turn the rights into shares in large-scale farming entities.

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