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Arable land not to be used for non-farming purposes

DATE:2015-05-28       SOURCE:CNTV

President Xi and Premier Li's instructions came as a high-level conference on protecting farmland was held in Beijing. China's agricultural minister has urged local authorities to prevent private capital from using arable land for non-farming purposes after land transfers.


To allow farmers to reap the benefits of urbanization, authorities have given the rural population the freedom to possess, use, benefit from and transfer their contracted land.


So far, more than 30 percent of all contracted farmland has been transferred.


But Han Changfu, China's agricultural minister, says problems, including arable land being used for non-farming purposes after transfer, have emerged.


"We don't seek a set proportion of transfers, we don't release targets, and we definitely don't do great-leap forwards and obsessive administrative orders. We'll strictly prevent social capital from using arable land for non-farming purposes after transfer, which impairs farmland protection and grain safety," Han said.


The minister says stricter and more systematic supervision is called for in farmland expropriation.


"These are sometimes bogus companies without the capacity to work the land, but they've somehow transferred a lot of it, even farmland in entire villages. In the end, problems have emerged including companies running out of money, not making ends meet and simply walking out. This has jeopardized farmers' benefits, and has especially brought tremendous trouble to localities and grassroots governance," Han said.


China feeds 22 percent of the world's population with just 7 percent of the total arable land. Chinese farmland stood at 135.1 million hectares at the end of 2012, 15 million hectares above the bottom line set by the government to ensure the nation's food safety.

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