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China to stabilize grain production

Updated: Nov 17,2020 08:47 PM

Efforts should be made to avoid using farmland for purposes other than growing grain and pursue stable food production, according to a circular issued by the General Office of the State Council on Nov 17.

Safeguarding national food security should be the first priority in work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers, the circular said.

As China's cultivated lands are small in size, the circular stressed using those limited resources in a science-based and reasonable manner, by allocating them first for growing crops to ensure food security and an effective supply of important agricultural products.

Special protection is needed for cultivated lands, use of which should be based on an order of priority, and there should be strict control over converting them into forest lands, garden plots and the like.

The circular called for enhanced supervision of functional grain production zones, which should accommodate designated crops at sufficient levels.

To achieve a steady planting scale, regions featuring a balance between grain production and sales and major grain purchasing areas should craft specific plans in light of regional layout and variety-based production, supply requirements for important farm produce and work on solid implementation to reverse the decline in grain planting.

The circular proposed encouraging industrial and commercial sectors to invest capital in cultivation of improved crop varieties, food processing and circulation, and specialized services related to grain production in the countryside.

To curb illegal occupation of permanent basic farmland to plant trees or build fish ponds, laws and regulations should be in place to specify punishment for violators.

Supporting food production also requires matching accountability systems, with provincial governors chiefly responsible for local food security, as well as incentive mechanisms that offer rewards to counties with the largest grain output and compensation to major grain producing areas.

For monitoring, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources should harness modern information technology, such as satellite-based remote sensing, to launch semiannual surveys of crop farming on cultivated land across China, and disclose any use of such land for non-grain purposes.

Province-level governments should formulate plans for stabilizing grain production without delay and report implementation progress to the State Council before the end of 2020, the circular added.