Rural reform a priority in 2017

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/2/5 23:58:40

Policy emphasizes innovation, green production

China will deepen supply-side structural reform in agriculture to cultivate new development engines for the sector, according to a policy document released Sunday.

The major problems facing China's agricultural sector are structural ones, mainly on the supply side, according to the document by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council.

The document calls for improving structure in the industry, promoting "green" production, extending the sector's industrial and value chain, boosting innovation, consolidating shared rural development and enhancing rural reforms.

This is the 14th year in a row that the "No.1 central document" has been devoted to agriculture, farmers and rural areas. The "No.1 central document" is the name traditionally given to the first policy statement released by the central authorities in the year and is seen as an indicator of policy priorities.

When carrying forward supply-side structural reform for the sector, national grain security must be guaranteed, according to the document.

It said that supply-side structural reform in the agricultural sector would be a long and challenging process, demanding the relationship between government and market be well handled and in the interests of all stakeholders.

According to the document, the gist of supply-side reform in China's agricultural sector is to increase the output of high-quality products based on green and innovative production, and the country will maintain its zero increase in the usage of pesticides and fertilizers and vigorously control water usage in the sector.

For better farm produce, a group of innovation centers and alliances will be created, and outstanding research will be enhanced, it added.

The reform also aims to refine the quality supervision and standardized systems for farm produce, control soil pollution and encourage agricultural businesses to gain international certifications.

China will also promote the export of competitive farm produce, cross-border operation of agricultural enterprises and the establishment of global leaders in the sector.

Separately, China will encourage migrant workers to return to rural areas and start businesses, while stepping up training for professional farmers, including professional agricultural managers, said the document.

Authorities will also offer favorable taxation policies for business start-ups in rural areas in addition to support with financing, land use and social insurance.

Promoting supply-side structural reform in agriculture will be the main theme in 2017's rural and agricultural work, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a meeting of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee in December 2016.

China started reforms in agricultural sector a few years ago. Partly due to structural adjustment, China's grain output dropped slightly in 2016, ending a 12-year rising streak. The yield stood at about 616 million tons, down by about 5.2 million tons or 0.8 percent year-on-year.

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