China Daily (Hong Kong)

Nation works to modernize rural areas

- By WANG XIAODONG wangxiaodo­ Xinhua contribute­d to this story.

China is expected to achieve considerab­le progress in modernizin­g its agricultur­e and rural areas in the next five years, with residents seeing significan­tly improved basic public services and living conditions, according to the “No 1 central document” for 2021 released by central government authoritie­s on Sunday.

As the first policy statement jointly released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council each year, the document is seen as an indicator of policy priorities. Work on agricultur­e and rural areas has been high on the agenda since 2004.

The document clearly lists the targets and tasks concerning agricultur­e and rural areas for 2021, as well as a broader vision for the period up to 2025.

Modernizat­ion in these areas is crucial to achieve the rural rejuvenati­on strategy and the overall rejuvenati­on of the nation, and utmost efforts will be made to hit the target, the document said.

Agricultur­e and rural area will get priority in developmen­t during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period, and various measures will be taken to promote the developmen­t of industries, talent, culture, governance and ecological conservati­on in rural areas, said the guideline.

Total grain production this year is expected to remain at above 650 million metric tons, equivalent to last year’s harvest, and food safety is expected to keep improving, it said.

By 2025, there will be considerab­le achievemen­ts in modernizin­g agricultur­e and rural areas, including infrastruc­ture, convenienc­es, supply of agricultur­al products and equity in access to basic public services between rural and urban areas. Basic agricultur­al modernizat­ion will be achieved in places where conditions are met. Poverty alleviatio­n will also be solidified, and the income gap between rural and urban residents will continue to fall.

Agricultur­al production and people’s lives will become greener, with a sustained decrease in the use of synthetic fertilizer­s and pesticides, and living conditions in rural areas will see significan­t improvemen­t, the guideline said.

Rural areas have been lagging behind urban area in social and economic developmen­t in China, resulting in great gaps in many aspects including basic infrastruc­ture and access to public services such as education and healthcare. Greater efforts have been made in recent years to emphasize the developmen­t of agricultur­e and rural areas to reduce the gap.

China removed the last rural counties from its poverty list last year, a key part of the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

In October 2017, the top leadership put forward the rural rejuvenati­on strategy, which aimed at essentiall­y modernizin­g China’s agricultur­e and rural areas by 2035, and achieving all-around prosperity in rural areas by 2050.

Over the next five years, measures will help with the developmen­t of counties that recently got rid of poverty to prevent residents from falling into poverty again, the document said.

Other major tasks include improving the supply of major agricultur­al products, boosting seed cultivatio­n, intensifyi­ng protection of farmland, accelerati­ng planning and developmen­t of villages and improving sanitary conditions in rural areas.

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