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China’s No.1 Central Document focuses on agriculture for 13th consecutive year

DATE:2016-01-28       SOURCE:MOA

Agriculture, rural community and farmer related issues are once again the topic of China’s "No. 1 Central Document" this year, the first policy document jointly released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council on January 27, 2016.


China will apply its new concept of development to agricultural modernization to make the process more efficient, inclusive and environment-friendly.


The document vowed "marked progress" in agriculture by 2020 to ensure society becomes moderately prosperous.


Upholding an innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development concept, the authorities called for faster transformation of agricultural models.


The importance of innovation was also underscored and supply-side structural reform in the agriculture sector was emphasized.


After years of good harvests, China has grown out of a food shortage period, but structural problems remain unsolved: some produce is over-supplied and some in short supply.


Total grain output increased 2.4 percent year on year to 621 million tonnes in 2015, the 12th straight year of growth.


The document said grain output should be increased, and food security through the supply of major farm produce guaranteed.


Agricultural modernization


China will improve the quality and competitiveness of its agricultural products through high-quality farmland and professional farmers catering to the demands of modern agriculture.


At least 53 million hectares of high-quality farmland will be created by 2020, which will be highly productive to ensure stable yields, be cultivated in an environmentally-friendly manner and able to withstand floods and droughts.


Training for farmers, increased investment in technology, modernization of the seed sector and diverse business entities and models will increase the pace of change.


Production structure must meet diverse consumption demand with enterprises encouraged to "go overseas" to balance exports and imports.


Green agriculture


Sustainability will come through improved efficiency of resource use and environmental protection.


Policies and technological support will protect resources and raise efficiency, preventing resources from over-exploitation.


China will follow its "red-line" system and guarantee that land dedicated to farming never shrinks to less than 120 million hectares.


China will tighten water resource management, level of groundwater will be closed watched.


By 2020, woodland coverage will be above 23 percent and wetland acreage will be above 800 million mu (53.33 million hectares). More farmland will be turned into forests or pastures.


New national standards on food safety will be prioritized and standards on pesticides residues and veterinary drugs will reach the international standards by 2020.


Integrated development


China aims to increase farmers' incomes by pushing integrative development of primary, secondary and tertiary industries in rural regions.


Technological innovation should advance the processing of agricultural products, thus, bringing more income to farmers. Specifically, the processing industry should develop its own equipment while outdated processing enterprises should be eliminated.


An unified, open, competitive market for modern agricultural products needs to be established to promote agricultural products. To this end, logistics cost will be reduced while rural e-commerce will be encouraged.


Officials also called for more promotion of rural destinations, as tourism could offer alternate income streams. The government will offer subsidies to infrastructure projects in key rural destinations while guiding private capital to projects that are beneficial for farmers.


In order to let rural households share the profits of every step of the industrial chain including production, processing, and sales, new mechanisms such as distributing shares of leading firms to farmers should be encouraged.


The income level of rural residents has seen steady growth in the past few years. In 2015, the rural per capita disposable income increased 8.9 percent year on year to 11,422 yuan (1,743 U.S. dollars), continuing from a 11.2-percent growth seen in 2014.


Better infrastructure and public services


The rural population can expect state-funded infrastructure construction to provide safer drinking water and home, access to electricity and roads, and better transportation.


Townships and cities with big inflows of rural migrant workers will be the priority for improved public services.


Preschool education will expand in rural areas, and compulsory education at primary and middle schools will be reinforced. High-school students who cannot afford them will be exempt from tuition fees. More teachers will be recruited.


Farmers will enjoy better subsidized access to the medical insurance system, while the old-age and child care systems will be improved.


The document expresses the objective of equal education and job opportunities for rural women and protection of their rights in seeking income from property and accessing financial resources.


Projects will be carried out in garbage treatment, tree planting and river cleaning to ensure a more livable environment for rural residents.


Rural workers


Rural workers will be given more support to better integrate into cities and find employment.


The government will encourage rural workers to find jobs or establish their own businesses in nearby regions.


The migrant rural labor force will be stabilized and expanded and rural workers will be offered support to start businesses in their hometowns.


County-level economies and rural service industries will be improved, while more training will be offered to rural workers.


Local funds should be established to support females working in the countryside, and they should have better access to small loans and training.


In addition, the document outlined that "hukou" (household registration) reforms, which will see 100 million rural workers secure urban residential status, must be expedited.


Basic public services should be expanded to cover all permanent residents in cities, it said, calling for education and housing benefits for migrant rural workers.


After they become registered urbanites, rural workers' land rights should be protected and support given to those who transfer their land rights.


Agricultural investment


China plans increased spending on agriculture to boost rural development.


The agricultural sector will be a key area for fixed-asset investment.


The government will channel more funds to poor farmers, construction of irrigation programs, industrial convergence in rural areas, and wholesale produce markets.


The central authorities pledged financial aid to key areas including farmland protection and the increase of grain production.


The government will also encourage financial institutions to make more loans to agriculture businesses.


Adapted from relevant websites of Xinhua News Agency

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