No.1 Central Document targets rural reform
BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities on Sunday issued their first policy document of 2014, underscoring the importance of rural reform, developing modern agriculture and maintaining agriculture as the foundation of its economy.
The policy document 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".
This is the 11th consecutive year in which the document has focused on rural issues.
"Rural reform and development are confronted with a more complicated environment and an increasing number of difficulties and challenges, as the country is going through a period of transformation," it said.
China's rapid marches toward industrialization, urbanization and information-based development are imposing pressing requirement on the development of modern agriculture.
The document listed eight aspects and 33 points for detailed government work on reforms related to the "three rural issues"-- agriculture, rural areas and farmers.
China should improve its national food security system, deepen rural land system reform and improve rural governance, while intensifying support and protection for agriculture and promoting financial support for rural areas, it said.
The government will also establish a long-term mechanism for sustainable agricultural development and a new agricultural management system, and meanwhile balance rural and urban development, the document outlined.
"TAKE GOOD CONTROL OF ITS BOWL"
The document put improving the national food security system on the top of the reform list for 2014 and the next few years.
"Taking good control of its own bowl is a fundamental principle the government must stick to over a long period of time," the document showed.
China should spare no efforts in promoting domestic grain production, strictly observing a red line for its arable land and constantly raising the country's agricultural production capacity, it said.
As the world's most populous nation, China has been striving to maintain food self-sufficiency, or rely mainly on domestic grain supply. The government has set a minimum line of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land to ensure food security.
China's arable land totaled 2.03 billion mu at the end of 2012, slightly higher than the minimum line, according to the results from a latest survey released late December.
However, the actual available arable land was just slightly above the government's red-line after deducting land arranged for forest and pasture restoration or land deemed not suitable for farming because of pollution.
While relying mainly on domestic grain production, the country will make good use of the international markets for agricultural products as a complement to domestic supply, the document said.
The country will also improve the pricing mechanism for important agricultural products and enhance supervision on product quality, it added.
MORE SUPPORT FOR RURAL AREAS
The country will intensify policy supports and protection of agriculture by promoting steady increases in agricultural expenditures, improving subsidizing policies for agriculture and setting up an interest compensation mechanism.
It will also promote technological innovation in the agricultural sector, develop modern seed industry and promote the mechanization of agriculture, the document said.
In advancing modern agriculture, efforts must be made to establish new agricultural management systems.
Large and medium-sized commercial banks should ensure presence in counties and extend their networks to townships. Banks should also reinforce their capability of providing services to rural areas.
China will improve the mechanisms for coordinating urban and rural development by improving rural living environment, providing equal basic public services in urban and rural areas and speeding up the reform of its household registration system to help rural migrant population to become urban residents, the document showed.