News & Reports News Year 2012 December 2012 China will offer deeper support to agriculture

China will offer deeper support to agriculture

CHINA will give farmers better protection over the land they till, raise their incomes and improve public services for them to help narrow the gap between urban and rural areas.

The government will ensure farmers earn "reasonable returns" from planting crops and increase agricultural subsidies, citing the government's annual policy-setting central rural work conference which ended Saturday.

This will require maintaining stable land contract relationships on the basis of household contract management while guiding the orderly transfer of farmers' land contract management rights, said Agriculture Minister Han Changfu.

It was agreed by delegates at the conference that farmers' rights will be fully protected, and land transfers should not be compulsory or restricted.

Scholars, experts and officials from the agricultural sector attended the meeting.

They agreed the government should work to create systems that are more organized when it comes to agricultural production and operation.

The government should also increase support to new types of businesses like family farms and specialized cooperatives.

Delegates also agreed that while ensuring the nation's grain security and effective supply of major agricultural products, more work should be done on pricing and ensuring that farmers get a fair profit during times of rising production costs.

The growth of farmers' income should be maintained at the same pace, or even faster than that of urban residents, the meeting said.

The government will also further balance urban and rural development and make sure migrant workers from rural areas get equal treatment if they become urban residents, the meeting said.

China will also ensure that another agricultural harvest is one of the tasks next year, according to the meeting.

In 2012, China's grain output rose 3.2 percent year on year to 589.57 million tonnes, marking the ninth consecutive year of growth, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Despite the rising yield, China still faces a tightening grain supply amid the rising demand fuelled by population growth. In response, China has increased its imports of farm produce to meet domestic needs.

To further ease the crunch, China will encourage more industrial and commercial enterprises to invest in agriculture, Han said.

Bi Meijia, chief economist with the Ministry of Agriculture, said more efforts are still needed to boost farmers' income, which have been dragged down by the rising production costs and increasing impact from the international markets.

Bi advised the government to improve the agricultural protection system and expand the coverage of subsidies to benefit more farmers.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance Xie Xuren also pledged to deepen efforts to boost farmers' income by allocating targeted funds to stabilize grain prices and boosting capital management for agricultural use at a national finance work meeting that closed on Friday.

In 2013, the agriculture ministry will expand the pilot program of the registration of farmers' land contract management rights to more regions