Business / Economy

'No 1 Central Document' focuses on rural reform

By Jin Zhu (China Daily) Updated: 2014-01-20 07:22

Efforts will be intensified to boost the country's agriculture, underscoring the importance of improving rural environments and maintaining food security, a central policy document said.

China will establish new agricultural management systems focusing on how to better utilize land. The development modes of agriculture will be transformed to solve land and water shortage issues. The country must yield more high-quality and safe farm products, the document said.

The policy document, which was released on Sunday, is issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council every year and has been dubbed the "No 1 Central Document".

Central authorities regularly release major policy documents at the beginning of each year to address government priorities.

This is the 11th consecutive year that the theme of the document has focused on rural issues.

China is facing several challenges in agricultural development, including achieving a balance between sufficient supplies of major agricultural products and the carrying capacity for environmental resources, the document said.

Efforts will be made to reduce pollution in rural areas and ensure the country has enough farmland, water and rural labor to feed its growing urban population, it said.

Dai Xiaofeng, director of the Institute of Agro-Products Processing Science and Technology under the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the document was very timely in solving the country's multiple challenges in rural development.

China's grain output reached 601.94 million metric tons in 2013, a record high and the 10th consecutive year of increased grain harvests, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

"The country has to maintain at least a 1 percent increase in its annual grain output over the next 20 years to satisfy domestic need. But current constraints on resources and worsening pollution make the target hard to realize if the government fails to take effective measures," he said.

A soil survey result released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in December found that about 3.33 million hectares of arable land was too polluted to grow crops.

The document will help transform the country's traditional agricultural producing mode, which emphasized the use of pesticides, fertilizer, and laborers, said Dai, who is an expert in modern agriculture research.

"China should also enhance its training process for farmers since they will use more advanced technologies in agricultural production in the future when the country accelerates its pace on modernizing agriculture," he said.

(China Daily 01/20/2014 page2)

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