Re­forms aim for more sus­tain­able, greener farm­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By XU WEI xuwei@chi­

China will pri­or­i­tize sup­ply-side struc­tural re­form in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor to im­prove the qual­ity of farm pro­duce and boost the de­vel­op­ment of green agri­cul­tural prac­tices, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased af­ter a high-level meet­ing.

The coun­try will seek to trans­form its agri­cul­tural sec­tor from overem­pha­sis on meet­ing quan­ti­ta­tive de­mands and over­re­liance on con­sump­tion of re­sources such as pes­ti­cides and fer­til­iz­ers to a green, eco­log­i­cal and sus­tain­able method of de­vel­op­ment next year, the state­ment said.

The an­nual con­fer­ence was held in Bei­jing on Mon­day and Tues­day to re­view the coun­try's ru­ral and agri­cul­tural work in 2016 and map out plans for 2017 and the fol­low­ing years.

The coun­try is still fac­ing a huge com­bined grain re­serve, es­ti­mated to be the largest in the world. The coun­try is sit­ting on a hoard of corn es­ti­mated to be as big as 240 mil­lion met­ric tons, Reuters re­ported.

China's grain out­put dropped by 0.8 per­cent year-on-year in 2016, end­ing 12 years of in­creases.

How­ever, the state­ment said the ad­vance­ment of ru­ral sup­ply-side re­form must be con­ducted on the premise of en­sur­ing the coun­try’s grain se­cu­rity.

In ad­di­tion to green farm­ing prac­tices and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion in agri­cul­ture will also be pri­or­i­tized.

Han Changfu, min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, said that the coun­try will seek to re­duce its corn acreage by 666,000 hectares next year. China

It is about an over­haul­ing of the whole agri­cul­tural sys­tem.” Zheng Feng­tian, a pro­fes­sor of ru­ral de­vel­op­ment at Ren­min Univer­sity of China

has al­ready re­duced corn acreage by 2 mil­lion hectares.

“The key to struc­tural re­form is to fol­low mar­ket de­mand, and pro­duce the agri­cul­tural prod­ucts that are good for sale,” he said.

The coun­try will also seek to im­prove the rate of out­put for its farm­land, la­bor pro­duc­tiv­ity for farmers and level of re­sources uti­liza­tion for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, the state­ment said.

How­ever, the state­ment also said there are three bot­tom lines — no de­cline in over­all grain pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, no change to the in­come growth trend for farmers, and no prob­lems in ru­ral sta­bil­ity.

Zheng Feng­tian, a pro­fes­sor of ru­ral de­vel­op­ment at Ren­min Univer­sity of China, said de­spite the coun­try’s huge grain stock­pile, there is still strong de­mand for high-qual­ity and green agri­cul­tural prod­ucts in China.

“It is about an over­haul­ing of the whole agri­cul­tural sys­tem,” he said.

He added that boost­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness and ef­fi­ciency in the sec­tor can also solve the prob­lem of the loss of la­bor in ru­ral ar­eas amid the coun­try’s ur­ban­iza­tion drive.

Song Zhe, the com­mis­sioner of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs in the Hong Kong SAR, de­liv­ers a wel­com­ing speech at the 2017 New Year Re­cep­tion held by the Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice in Hong Kong on Tues­day. In 2016, the Com­mis­sioner’s Of­fice han­dled over 600 cases of con­sular pro­tec­tion in­volv­ing the city’s res­i­dents in ac­cor­dance with the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s poli­cies on Hong Kong-re­lated diplo­matic af­fairs, Song said. The com­mis­sioner pledged that the of­fice will al­ways en­sure the safety and rights of Hong Kong peo­ple trav­el­ing abroad.

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