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Upgraded farming key to rural uplift
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-01-30 09:52

Developing modern agriculture is the Chinese government's top priority in building a new socialist countryside, according to a central government document released in Beijing on Monday.

The document, jointly released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, contains the first set of major policies to be released this year and focuses on rural development for the fourth consecutive year.

"Developing modern agriculture has proven to be the basic channel through which farmers' incomes can be increased," said the document.

Last year, the per capita income of Chinese farmers stood at 3,587 yuan ($460), less than one-third of the amount earned by their urban counterparts.

To bridge the wealth gap, the central government said it would pump more money into rural areas.

"Most of the fixed-assets investment and money earmarked for education, public health and culture this year should go to rural areas," the document said.

"Local governments should channel more money they earn from selling land use rights to the countryside," it said.

The document advocated the establishment of a mechanism to secure stable sources of capital from both government and financial institutions.

Both the central and local governments should allocate special funds to support the processing of farm produce, which has a higher value-added than land-intensive farming, it noted.

"The livestock breeding industry has a direct bearing on the lives of the general public ... Governments at various levels must strengthen their control over fodder quality," it said, calling for more money to be spent on subsidizing the breeding of fine dairy cattle and the prevention and control of animal epidemics.

The central government will make a greater effort to equip the agriculture industry with modern technology this year.

"China will continue to focus on improving the quality of farming and raise the utilization rate of land and other natural resources in rural areas," it said.

The country will also stick to the principle of self-reliance in food provision and gradually build a stable, well-controlled and efficient food-safety guarantee system, it said.

China produced over 490 billion kilograms of grain last year, representing an increase of only 1 percent over the 2005 figure. It was the third straight year-on-year increase.

The Study Times, a newspaper affiliated to the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, predicted that China could face the possibility of a 4.8 million ton grain shortage in 2010.

Source:China Daily 
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