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Review of Work in Agriculture 2014

DATE:2015-03-10       SOURCE:Xinhua News Agency
 

Excerpt from Report on the Work of the Government 2015

Delivered at the Third Session of the

Twelfth National People's Congress on March 5, 2015

Li Keqiang

Premier of the State Council

 

I. Review of Work in 2014

People’s lives were improved…The per capita disposable income of rural residents grew by 9.2%, outpacing that of those living in urban areas. In rural areas, the number of people living in poverty was reduced by 12.32 million, and over 66 million more people gained access to safe drinking water……

Over the past year, we have faced more difficulties and challenges than anticipated. We have risen to the challenge and accomplished the following in our work.

We have been effectively implementing proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy……Loans for agriculture, rural areas, and farmers, outdid the average increase in loans overall by 0.7 percentage points……

Work was done to strengthen the foundations of agriculture. We increased policy support to strengthen agriculture, benefit farmers, and raise rural living standards. Grain output increased for the 11th consecutive year, and the income of rural residents grew faster than that of urban residents for the fifth year running. Overall agricultural production capacity was steadily improved.

Agricultural science and technology continued to be strengthened, and agriculture was further mechanized. The pace of progress in the construction of major water conservancy projects was stepped up. Farmland under water-saving irrigation was increased by 2.23 million hectares. An additional 230,000 kilometers of roads were built or upgraded in rural areas. We launched a new round of efforts to return more marginal farmland to forest or grassland. The work to determine, register, and certify contracted rural land-use rights proceeded as planned, and new types of agricultural businesses registered faster growth.

Progress was made in developing infrastructure and promoting coordinated development among regions……Steady progress was made in upgrading rural power grids.

We continued to make progress in securing fair access to education……28 provincial-level administrative areas began to allow children who live with their migrant worker parents to take the college entrance exam in their cities of residence. The number of students from poor rural areas who were newly enrolled in key colleges and universities increased by more than 10% for the second year running.

While recognizing our achievements, we must also be mindful of the difficulties and challenges on the road ahead: ……the foundation of agriculture is weak……

II. The Plan for Work in 2015

……China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity during which great progress can be made in development. Our country’s development has enormous potential and is hugely resilient, and we have ample room for growth. Steady progress is being made in the development of new types of industrialization, applications of information technologies, urbanization, and agricultural modernization……

III. Deepening Reform and Opening Up

We will take timely action to accelerate price reform……We will carry out pricing reforms for water used in agriculture……

We will move ahead with financial reform to better serve the real economy……We will deepen reform of rural credit cooperatives……

IV. Balancing Steady Economic Growth and Structural

Improvement

We will increase effective investment in public goods. We will ensure that the projects set out in the 12th Five-Year Plan are completed. We will launch a number of major new projects, including: ……agricultural projects on water conservancy and developing high-quality farmland……

We will work harder to modernize agriculture.

We will continue to give top priority to our work relating to agriculture, rural areas, and the rural population, speed up the transformation of the agricultural growth model, and ensure that agriculture is stronger, people in rural areas are better off, and rural China is more beautiful.

This year, we need to keep grain output above 550 million metric tons, and ensure both food security and the supply of major agricultural products. We will make sure that China’s arable land area does not fall below the red line of 120 million hectares. We will carry out work on designating permanent basic cropland throughout the country, launch an initiative to maintain and enhance the quality of cultivated land, improve rural land, improve the subsoil of 13.3 million hectares of cropland, strengthen the building of irrigation and water conservancy facilities, and work hard to develop water-efficient agriculture.

We will step up efforts to develop and expand the use of new technology, new crop varieties, and new agricultural machinery. We will guide farmers to adjust what and how much they grow or breed based on market demand. We will offer support for agricultural products to be processed locally, particularly for grain processing in major grain-growing areas, and carry out pilot projects to replace grain crop cultivation with feed crop cultivation. We will comprehensively address problems such as residual traces of chemicals in agricultural products and livestock shipments. We will work to improve the quality of all agricultural products and make our food more safe to eat.

Our efforts to build a new countryside should benefit the rural population. We will give high priority to building roads and water facilities. This year, we will ensure that 60 million more rural residents gain access to safe drinking water; that 200,000 kilometers of rural roads are built or upgraded; and that bridges are built to replace all ropeways in the western region. We will work toward providing electricity to the over 200,000 remaining people in China who are still without access.

We will strengthen efforts to improve the environment, focusing particularly on refuse and sewage treatment, to build a more beautiful and livable countryside. We will increase rural incomes through multiple channels and keep narrowing the urban-rural income gap.

We will continue to fight the battle against poverty, carry out extensive poverty alleviation and development programs in contiguous poor areas, and take targeted measures to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Regardless of how difficult it may be, this year, we must again reduce the poor rural population by more than 10 million.

Reform is key to modernizing agriculture. On the premise of keeping household operations stable, we will support the 45 development of large family farming businesses, family farms and pastures, farmers’ cooperatives, leading agricultural enterprises, and other emerging agribusinesses; cultivate a new type of skilled farmer; and develop diversified and scaled agricultural operations.

We will ensure smooth progress in determining, registering, and certifying contracted rural land-use rights. We will move prudently to carry out pilot reforms relating to rural land requisition, putting rural collective land designated for business-related construction on the market, the system of land use for rural housing, and the rural collective property rights system. We need to ensure that during reform, the acreage of cultivated land does not diminish, its quality does not deteriorate, and the interests of people in rural areas are protected.

We will deepen the reform of rural supply and marketing cooperatives, state farms on reclaimed land, the seed industry, state forestry farms, and state forests, and work to ensure the success of both experimental zones for carrying out rural reform and modern agriculture demonstration zones. We will refine the policy on setting minimum state grain purchase prices and the policy on the temporary state purchase and storage of major agricultural products, and improve the ways that subsidies are granted under the system of guaranteed base prices for agricultural products. We will strengthen the integration and management of funds for agricultural development. Whatever fiscal difficulties we may face, our policies to support agriculture must be strengthened, and related funding must be increased.

We will work to achieve breakthroughs in promoting a new type of urbanization.

Urbanization is a fundamental way to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas and provides the largest source of domestic demand. We will make urbanization people-oriented, focus on the three tasks,* and fully leverage the role of urbanization in underpinning modernization.

We will redouble efforts to rebuild rundown urban areas and renovate dilapidated urban and rural housing. This year, our plan includes building an additional 7.4 million units of government-subsidized housing, of which 5.8 million are to be located in rundown urban areas, an increase of 1.1 million over last year. We will bring the renovation of dilapidated urban housing under the coverage of the policy on rebuilding rundown areas. We will renovate 3.66 million dilapidated rural houses, an increase of one million over the number renovated last year. We will carry out coordinated work to make rural housing more earthquake resistant.

In providing government housing support, we will phase in the policy of using both the provision of physical housing and the allocation of housing subsidies, and transform a portion of available housing into public rental housing or housing to be sold to those being relocated. Housing allowances will be provided to families who live on subsistence allowances and are facing serious housing difficulties. We will give targeted guidance, implement policies suitable to local conditions, assign primary responsibility to local governments for the development of housing, support people’s demand for housing for personal use and second homes, and promote the stable and sound development of the real estate market.

We will draw on reform to solve tough issues in urbanization. We need to promptly implement reforms to the household registration system and relax controls over the transfer of household registration. People originally from rural areas who live and work in urban areas but have yet to gain urban residency will be able to access basic public services on the basis of their residence certificates, and we will get rid of fees related to residence certification. We will link the transfer payments of cities to their performance in granting urban residency to eligible migrant workers and find suitable ways to share the cost of ensuring migrant workers can become urban citizens. We will establish well-regulated, diversified, and sustainable mechanisms for financing urban development. We will continue to use land economically and intensively, establish a sound unified market for urban and rural land that may be used for construction purposes, and improve and expand pilot projects to link the amount of urban and rural land granted for these purposes to that of land returned to cultivation. We will increase funding and policy support for expanding trials in the new type of urbanization.

We will improve the planning and construction of cities and towns. We need to formulate and implement plans for building city clusters, and work systematically to develop integrated infrastructure and basic public services within clusters. Standards for designating municipalities will be improved, trial programs will be launched to expand the powers of very large towns and increase their overall carrying capacity, and efforts will be made to bring population growth in megacities under control. We will also raise the industry and population carrying capacity of prefectural cities, county towns, and hub towns to make it easier for people from rural areas nearby to gain urban residency.

We will develop smart cities and protect historical and local culture, ensuring it is passed on from generation to generation. We will strengthen urban facilities for water, gas, and electricity supplies, public transport, and flood prevention and rainwater control. We will ensure the effective governance of urban maladies such as pollution and traffic congestion to make transportation more convenient and improve the environment for urban living.

The service sector can provide an enormous amount of employment opportunities and has vast potential for development. ……We will also deepen logistics reform, strengthen the building of modern logistics facilities such as large-scale wholesale, storage, and cold chain facilities for agricultural produce, and work hard to achieve major reductions in logistics costs.

V. Making Sustained Efforts to Improve Living Standards and Promote Social Development

We will work hard to promote business development and increase employment.……We will coordinate efforts to ensure employment can be found for people who move from rural to urban areas to find work, vulnerable urban residents who have difficulty finding jobs, and decommissioned military personnel. We will put into effect the plan on providing vocational training for migrant workers.……We will draw on comprehensive governance to deal with the “missing” or delayed wages of migrant workers.

We will promote fair access to and strengthen the quality of education. ……We will implement the policy of enabling the children of migrant workers to receive compulsory education in the cities and towns where they and their parents live and improve policies that enable them to continue on into secondary and college education.

We will work to comprehensively promote the development of a modern vocational education system. ……We must guarantee funding and ensure that every yuan is well spent. We should clear any obstructions to upwards mobility for students from rural or poor areas, and ensure that each and every person has the opportunity to change their life through education.

We will encourage doctors to practice in community-level clinics in addition to their regular practice and help the development of nongovernmental hospitals. ……We will increase the annual subsidy for government expenditures on basic public health services from 35 yuan to 40 yuan per capita, with the entire additional sum to be used for paying for rural doctors to provide basic public health services; this will allow large numbers of rural residents to enjoy better access to local medical services……

We will strengthen and make innovations in social governance…… We will provide support and services for children, women, and older people who remain in rural areas while their family members move to work in urban areas, and establish a system of social protection for minors……

We will implement the action plan for preventing and controlling water pollution; strengthen control over pollution in rivers, lakes, seas, water pollution sources, and pollution from nonpoint agricultural sources; and ensure the safety of drinking water by carrying out oversight over the whole process, from the source to the tap……

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