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China will continue boosting agricultural production to prevent increasing food prices from driving up the country's inflation rate and putting downward pressure on economic growth.
"The government's economic regulations are faced with pressure from an economic slowdown and rebounding food prices," Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said at a news briefing during the National People's Congress in Beijing on Friday.
China's annual inflation accelerated by 5.4 percent in 2011. In February, though, the figure had eased to a 20-month low of 3.2 percent from a year before, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
When delivering the government work report on Monday, Premier Wen Jiabao set the country's inflation target at 4 percent for 2012.
"We will increase agricultural production and ensure supply and continue to make controlling excessive rises in food prices a priority in stabilizing prices," Wen said.
The central government plans this year to allocate about 1.2 trillion yuan ($192 billion) to developing the agricultural industry and the country's rural areas and to improving farmers' livelihoods, Wen said. That number had increased by 186.8 billion yuan from last year.
Chinese farmers have increased grain output for eight years in a row. In 2011, the country's grain output increased by 4.5 percent from a year before to hit a record of 571 million tons, an amount that already meets the government's 2020 output target for grain, according to the statistics bureau.
Uncertain weather and market conditions and rising agricultural input costs are the biggest obstacles that might prevent the country from having another bumper harvest, Han said.