The Chinese government will take stronger measures to ensure the supply of key farm produce and keep prices stable, the State Council decided at its executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Nov 6.
Agriculture has been a high priority for the Chinese government. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that a more complex economic environment required intensified efforts for sustained progress in agriculture, rural development and the well-being of farmers to ensure the supply of grain and other key agricultural products. Premier Li Keqiang underscored the need to enhance grain production and overall farming capacity to see grain output remain stable and key agricultural products are in effective supply. He also called for a multi-pronged approach, supported with solid measures, to hog farming, pork supply and stable prices.
It was noted at the meeting that agricultural production has been broadly stable this year, and grain output is expected to stay above 650 billion kg for the fifth straight year. The multiple steps introduced for swiftly restoring hog production are well under way, and good progress is being made with key agricultural products. That said, recent price hikes of some products in the “food basket,” which includes meat, aquatic products, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables, have driven up overall prices and affected people’s daily lives.
“Another bumper harvest of grain production is well within reach this year, yet we must be clear-eyed about the challenges in agriculture. In particular, the relatively fast rise in CPI deserves our close attention. We must see to it that the economy continues to develop within the appropriate range,” Premier Li said.
The meeting urged taking multi-pronged steps to restore hog production at a faster pace, by removing unjustifiable farming bans across the country. A bumper harvest of corn in North China will help ensure pig feed supply for pig farming provinces in South China. The meeting also urged increasing the production of poultry, beef and mutton, and tapping into the food reserves to ensure the supply of key farm produce and curb the price hikes of certain products.
The meeting called for efforts to protect farmland, and improve the mix and quality of grain production to help ensure the success of farming this fall and winter. The construction of water conservancy facilities should be stepped up during this winter and next spring to steadily improve farming conditions.
Local governments should activate the mechanism that links social assistance with price increases to meet the basic needs of those living in difficulty. There should be no slackening of effort in ensuring grain production to make sure that China has full self-sufficiency in grain supply.
“Our crucial task now is to take a host of measures to ensure the supply of key farm produce and keep prices stable. This is vital in maintaining macroeconomic stability,” Premier Li said.
The meeting decided on steps to cultivate high-standard farmland for greater grain production capacity. The goal is to develop 1 billion mu (67 million hectares) of such farmland by 2022, with over 500 billion kg of production capacity. Stronger support will be given to building farmland through local government bonds and land leasing revenue. Private capital will be encouraged to the projects through diversified channels.
“We are able to ensure overall self-sufficiency of grain supply and absolute food security. Government departments must make concerted efforts in supporting agricultural production and the development of high-standard farmland,” Premier Li said.
“Subsidies for low-income people should be activated nationwide to ensure their basic livelihood.”
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