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Current Status of Agriculture and Rural Economy in China

DATE:2012-03-28       SOURCE:


In 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) seriously fulfilled the arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, actively responded to grave challenges posed by unusual natural disasters and highly volatile market conditions, followed the approach of promoting overall development, emphasizing implementation results, striving for good harvest despite severe disasters, setting priorities and intensifying the foundation, preventing risks, and deepening the reform and establishing mechanisms. Due to these efforts, the tasks for the last year were accomplished and the overall growth momentum of agriculture and rural economy maintained.


  • Grain production hit historic new high. The grain planting area was around 1659 million mu (110.6 million ha), rising by 10.44 million mu (69.6 million ha) over the previous year. The total production reached 1142.42 billion jin (571 million tons), an increase of 49.47 billion jin (24.735 million tons) or 4.5%. This marks a new record, another total output over 1 trillion jin (500 million tons) for the fifth consecutive year, and continuous growth for eight years in a row for the first time in the past five decades. The increase in production totaled 281 billion jin (140.5 million tons) in these eight years, with an annual average increase of 35 billion jin (17.5 million tons). This period witnessed the biggest margin of production growth since the establishment of P. R. China. The yield per mu (1/15 ha) was 344.4 kg, up 12.8 kg, registering a historic new high. It went up by 55.6 kg in the eight years, with an annual average increase of 7 kg. Therefore this period also witnessed the fastest growth of yield. In addition, the grain availability per capita came to a new high of 850 jin (425 kg).


  • Production of major agricultural products all rose. The production of cotton, oil crops, sugar crops, fruits, vegetables, tea, meat, eggs, milk, and aquatic products all increased, which happened for the first time in the past 16 years. The cotton output rose by 10.7%, oil crops 1.5%, and sugar crops 4.3%. The vegetable output totaled 677 million tons, increasing by over 20 million tons; outputs of cash crops, including fruits and tea, all grew at a rate of over 4%; and the outputs of meat, eggs and milk amounted to 79.57 million tons, 28.11 million tons and 36.56 million tons respectively, up 0.4%, 1.8% and 2.2%. The total output of aquatic products was 56 million tons, up 4.2%. Generally, sufficient supply and diversified choices of agricultural products are available in China.


  • Farmer’s income has kept double-digit growth. National per capita net income of rural resident has amounted to 6,977 RMB with an increase of 1,058 RMB over last year, up by 11.4% in real term, enabling relatively fast growth for eight consecutive years, overgrowing urban resident for two consecutive years. The growth also registered a historic record on annual increment and record increase rate since 1985. In term of growth structure, channels for income growth have been more diverse. Farmer’s income is mainly composed of four components, i.e. household operation income (cropping and animal farming income), wage payment, transfer payment and property income. The average household operation income, which takes a dominant role, has reached 3,222 RMB, representing 46.2% of the average net income of rural residents, with an increase of 390 RMB and an increase rate of 13.8%. Wage payment has been an important source of income growth, climbing to 2,936 RMB and taking 42.5% of the average net income, up by 532 RMB and by 21.9% year-on-year. Transfer payment remains relatively fast growth, registering 563 RMB and 8.1% higher than that of last year, with an increase and increase rate by 110 RMB and 24.4% respectively. Property income has showed a constant rise, hitting 229 RMB with a share of 3.3% in income structure, and an annual increase by 26 RMB and 13.0%.


  • Quality and safety of agricultural products remain stable with improvements made, and major epizootic diseases are under control. Quality and safety of agricultural products is generally sound. Relevant monitoring results showed that 97.4% vegetables, 99.6% livestock and poultry products and 96.8% aquatic products have met the quality and safety standard, 0.6 and 0.1 percentage points higher over last year for vegetables and aquatic products respectively. Major animal diseases are under control with incidence plummeting. Sporadic cases of type-O FMD and PRRS are under effective control, their prevalence have slowed down significantly. No incidents have been reported for quality and safety of agricultural products, neither case has been detected for regional major animal diseases.


  •  Farming machinery, state farm and TVE sectors grew at a steady pace, so did the contribution of agricultural science and technology to agriculture. At year end, the total horse power of farming machines was 970 million kw, representing a rise of 4.5%. Mechanization covered 54.5% of ploughing, planting and harvesting practices, up by 2.2 percentage points. Gross production value in state farms registered at 407 billion Yuan, showing a 13.2 % rise compared to the previous year and sustaining the above-12% annual growth rate to the 9th year. The leveraging role of modern agricultural practices increased and the development pace for TVE and processing plants was steady. TVEs created 12.9 trillion RMB added value at a growth rate of 11.1% and the total industrial value of large-scale processing plants grew by 25%. Science and technology contributed 53.5% to agricultural growth, showing that technology had become the staunch driving force behind agricultural and rural economic development.


  • Agricultural trade recorded new high. Agricultural imports and exports was 155.62 billion USD, rising by 27.6% year on year, securing the third seat in the agricultural trade of the world. Export was 60.75 billion USD (rising by 23%) and import was 94.87 billion USD (rising by 30.8%), creating a deficit of 34.12 billion USD (up by 47.4%).


General requirements for agriculture and the rural economic work in 2012 are:


Implement the instructions of the CPC economic work conference and the CPC rural work conference, pursue the scientific approach to development, stabilize and boost grain production, advance agricultural science and technology, promote agricultural modernization, to achieve the “Two Economic & Two Safety” Goals (more than 525 million tons in grain output and more than 7.5% in growth of farmers’ income; no major epizootics and no major quality & safety incidents for farm produce), and ensure agri-food supply, in order to cement the foundation for the steady and relatively fast economic and social growth and to greet Party’s 18th Congress with outstanding achievements.


Steady progress will be made to “maintain, strengthen, optimize and reform”. Good momentum on grain production and income increase, favorable pro-farm policies, effective interventions and working mechanisms will all be maintained, to put agriculture and rural economy on the track of steady development. A Campaign of Agricultural Science and Technology will be launched to strengthen technological innovation and extension, thus making more contributions to spurring agriculture and rural development. Agricultural productivity distribution pattern will be optimized and modern agricultural industry system be built, to prompt a model of specialized, large-scale and intensive production based consistent standard. Rural and institutional reform will be continuously pursued to invigorate agriculture and rural economy by advancing modern agricultural demonstration zone and rural reform experiment zone, and expanding horizon of agricultural opening-up. 9 priorities were identified:


1. Improve and squarely implement pro-farm policies. Pro-farm policies will be actively advocated, squarely implemented and effectively supervised, supported by matching programs. Priorities will be given to advancing agricultural subsidies, developing high-yield bulk crops (grain, cotton, oil and sugar), granting subsidies or awards on grassland ecological conservation and major producing counties, to name a few. Every effort will be made to materialize central policies down to earth so that farmers can get tangible benefits.


2. Secure good harvest in grain production. Goals have been set to increase yield for summer grain and early rice, and maintain yield for autumn grain. Programs will be launched to attain those goals, supported by crop-specific, region-specific, season-specific and disaster-specific technical measures. A holistic approach will be taken to stabilize production of cash crops such as cotton, oil and sugar.


3. Steadily develop products enlisted in the Vegetable Basket Program (VBP). VBP program will be extended to boost production of vegetables, meat, dairy products, and aquatic products, to enrich goods “in basket”.


4. Intensify quality and safety supervision of agricultural products. Earmarked programs on quality and safety will be extended, to improve regular surveillance system on quality and safety, and launch more joint efforts of inspection and violation correction. Efforts will be made to advance agricultural production based on consistent standards.


5. Prevent and control major animal diseases. We should do a good job of implementing the National Mid-to Long-Term Plan for Prevention of Animal Diseases and carrying out compulsory vaccination, quarantine and supervision, disease surveillance and emergency management etc. Efforts should be made to strengthen the supervision of vaccine quality, step up the development of disease-free areas and bio-safety zones and strictly regulate administration and law enforcement in animal husbandry and animal health.


6. Advance agricultural science and technology. In the Year of Promotion of Agricultural Science and Technology with a theme of bringing science and technology to farmers and promoting yield increase and income generation, we should promote the alliance and coordination among agriculture, science and education, encourage agricultural experts and technicians to go to the forefront of agricultural production and bring science and technology to the field.


7. Build strong market system of agricultural products. Priorities should be given to strengthening monitoring and early-warning, improving facilities of distribution, building closer link between production and market, implementing policies of regulation and enhancing marketing ability of producers. Direct links between farms and supermarkets, farms and schools and farms and communities shall be established. Agricultural exhibitions shall be used to drive economic development.


8. Push forward major programs of modern agriculture. Modern agriculture demonstration areas shall be developed for better spill-over effects. Programs of increasing food productivity by 50 million tons and building quality farmland with stable yield despite of drought or water-logging shall be implemented. Efforts shall be made to optimize and adjust the structure of rural biogas investment and continue with conservation cultivation and Returning Grazing land to Grassland program.


9. Expand channels for farmers’ income generation. The following efforts shall be made: increase on-farm income by developing competitive special industries; increase off-farm income by transferring rural laborers out of agriculture, creating more employment from township and village enterprises, agricultural processing sector and leisure agriculture etc and supporting migrant workers to return to hometown and set up their own business; increase income from properties by reforming the rural property right system; exploring other possibilities to develop agriculture and increase farmers’ income by steadily opening agriculture up to the outside world.

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