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State Council urges high-standard farmland development

Updated: Nov 21,2019 09:15 PM

The General Office of the State Council issued a circular on Nov 21, specifying requirements for developing high-standard farmland in China.

High-standard farmland is essential for China to expand its grain output and strengthen its national food security, the circular said.

According to the document, the country aims to cultivate high-standard farmland covering up to 800 million mu (about 53 million hectares) by 2020, and increase the area to 1 billion mu — a level sufficient to ensure production capacity exceeding 1 trillion jin (500 billion kilograms), by 2022.

Realizing the goal requires an integrated system to guide planning and layout, development, and management of such farmland, it said.

Unified planning and layout means designating areas exclusively for developing high-standard farmland, including permanent basic farmland protection areas, functional grain growing areas and protected areas for important produce. More similar support should be given to revolutionary base areas, poor areas, and areas where conditions are favorable.

The system should also set unified standards for project implementation and investment involved in cultivating high-standard farmland. At the same time, though, flexibility is allowed depending on such factors as development needs of agriculture and the countryside, and changes in market prices.

To facilitate management, a farmland big data platform should be in place to ensure data traceability, whole-process monitoring, precise control and resource sharing, by putting all high-standard farmland into one “map”. The State Council urged local governments to speed up preparing the national map, said the circular.

The circular also indicated the necessity to mobilize farmers to play a more active role in the development of high-standard farmland.

Clear accountability is also stressed in the circular. Measures should be taken to improve ways to assess the results of relevant projects, in line with the requirement of a governor responsibility system.

With regards to farmland protection, the State Council called for work to define corresponding responsibilities, underlining protection and utilization pursuant to stringent rules. Built-up high-standard farmland should be listed as permanent basic farmland.

While prioritizing farmland construction in allocating fiscal funds, the governments should also hammer out innovative investment and financing channels, such as attracting social capital, the circular added.