China should stand on guard over food security as agriculture underpins economic development
Published: Mar 24, 2022 10:57 PM
Farmers run tractors through wheat fields in Suqian, East China's Jiangsu Province on Thursday, right after the weeklong Spring Festival holiday. Around China, 22 million tractors and various types of specialized agricultural machinery are at the ready, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Photo: VCG

Farmers run tractors through wheat fields in Suqian, East China's Jiangsu Province. File Photo: VCG

China should always stand on guard over its food security and ensure stable production and supply to hedge external uncertainties, Premier Li Keqiang said during an inspection visit to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs on Wednesday.

During the visit Premier Li urged for efforts to stabilize and boost agricultural production and highlighted that agriculture is the cornerstone of the national economy, Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

Amid a complicated international situation, big price spikes and wilder swings in the crop markets, among other uncertainties, domestic development and agricultural production face new challenges, Li said.

The country has sufficient stockpiles of food and other major agricultural products and its supplies are guaranteed, the premier mentioned, stressing on the need to ensure domestic food security which is of pivotal significance to stabilize prices, the economy and society at large. 

Premier Li called on efforts to ensure "rice bags" and "vegetable baskets" for a population of 1.4-plus billion, underpinning the fundamentals of the sustained, healthy economic and social development.

His remark suggests the country ought to focus on preparing for spring plowing, guaranteeing the area for spring sowing and encouraging a variety of double-cropping rice to be planted in places where conditions permit to ensure that this year's grain output will remain above 650 billion kilograms, Xinhua reported.

The premier also made reference to the additional 20 billion yuan ($3.14 billion) in farming supply subsides the government has pledged to grain planters, urging the allocation to be handed out as soon as possible.

Earlier in March, the Ministry of Finance disclosed the 20-billion-yuan package of subsidies from the central government's coffers to protect actual grain farmers from rising costs of supplies. 

The fresh subsidies followed the allocation of 20 billion yuan in one-off subsidies to grain farmers in June 2021.

With a rural population of 760 million, the country still has a long way to go before it becomes modernized, the premier stated, urging a continued push for agricultural modernization which underpins the nation's industrialization and urbanization.