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Xi: Consolidate the foundation of agriculture
China Daily
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Xi: Consolidate the foundation of agriculture

The annual central rural work conference, which was held in Beijing on 19th and 20th of Dec, mapped out the priorities of rural work in 2024.

President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made important instructions on work related to agriculture, rural areas and farmers at the conference.

Xi said that China will persistently consolidate the foundation of agriculture and promote rural vitalization across the board to advance the Chinese path to modernization.

This year, despite multiple adverse factors such as severe natural disasters, the country has achieved a record-high grain output, rapid growth of farmers' income and stability in rural areas, he said.

Xi emphasized that food security must be safeguarded by stabilizing the land acreage for grain production and increasing the yields per unit. Work should be done to establish a diversified food supply system, and the quality of arable land should be improved.

China is expected to explore the establishment of an interprovincial compensation mechanism for balancing the profit of grain production and distribution areas.

Zheng Fengtian, a professor at the School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at Renmin University of China, said the mechanism was emphasized at this year's annual conferences on both economic and rural work.

Major grain-producing areas such as Heilongjiang and Henan provinces are usually less developed than major grain-consuming areas such as Beijing and Shanghai.

"Farmers cannot earn enough money by simply growing grain, which impairs their passion for agricultural production. Grain consuming areas are expected to compensate for farmers in production areas to address such concerns," Zheng said.

Beijing and neighboring Hebei province, a major food supplier for the capital, have already cooperated to reduce burden of farmers in grain producing areas, he added.

A statement released after the conference highlighted that effective measures are needed to prevent agricultural disasters and further ensure that grain output remains above 650 million metric tons in 2024.

Zheng said that the statement, for the first time, noted that the country will support the establishment of scientific and technological innovation platforms when emphasizing the importance of agricultural technology.

It also said that developing targeted rural industries are essential to increase farmers' income and prevent a reoccurrence of poverty, which are among major goals in promoting rural vitalization.

Wang Sangui, director of the China Anti-Poverty Research Institute at Renmin University of China, said rural vitalization cannot be limited only to villages, but also needs to be integrated with urbanization.

The new type of urbanization is not all about building large cities, but rather focuses on counties and larger townships, attracting a significant number of farmers to move to urban areas, Wang said.

"For rural migrants moving into urban areas, it is important to absorb them with labor-intensive industries, including industries of service and agricultural processing," he said.

China DailyShen Yi

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