China will deepen supply-side structural reform in agriculture to develop the sector, according to a policy document released Sunday.
The major problems facing China's agricultural sector are structural ones, mainly on the supply side, according to the document by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.
The document calls for improving structures in the industry, promoting "green" production, extending the sector's industrial and value chain, boosting innovation, consolidating shared rural development and enhancing rural reforms.
This is the 14th year in a row that the "No. 1 central document" has been devoted to agriculture, farmers and rural areas.
The "No. 1 central document" is the name traditionally given to the first policy statement released by the central authorities in the year and is seen as an indicator of policy priorities.
When carrying forward supply-side structural reform for the sector, national grain security must be guaranteed, according to the document.
It also said that supply-side structural reform in the agricultural sector would be a long and challenging process, demanding the relationship between government and market be well handled and in the interests of all stakeholders.
China started structural reforms in its agricultural sector a few years ago. Partly due to structural adjustment, China's grain output dropped slightly in 2016, ending a 12-year rising streak. The yield stood at about 616 million tonnes, down by about 5.2 million tonnes or 0.8 percent year on year.
BETTER FARM PRODUCTS
The gist of supply-side reform in China's agricultural sector is to increase the output of high-quality products based on green and innovative production.
The country will maintain its zero increase in the usage of pesticides and fertilizers and vigorously control water usage in the sector.
For better farm produce, a group of innovation centers and alliances will be created, and outstanding research will be enhanced.
The reform also aims to refine the quality supervision and standard system for farm produce, control soil pollution and encourage agricultural businesses to gain international certifications.
China will promote the export of competitive farm produce, cross-border operation of agricultural enterprises and the establishment of global leaders in the sector.
"The success of agricultural supply-side reform depends on increase in farmers' income as well as more quality farm products," said Tang Renjian, deputy director of the central rural work leading group.
Continuous income increase, like ensuring food security, is a must during the reform, he said.
China will deepen reform on pricing mechanism for major farm products to make sure farmers sell their harvest at reasonable prices.8 It will ensure moderate growth in fiscal spending in rural areas and the increase in loans issued for farmers and the development of agriculture and the countryside.
The policy document called for the implementation of a rural land reform which separates farmland ownership rights, contract rights, and operating rights, allowing farmers to earn more by transferring their land rights to individuals or conglomerates.
The per capita income of urban households was 2.72 times that of rural households in 2016, down from 2.73 times in previous year, as the government pursued the integrated development of urban and rural areas, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
China will encourage migrant workers to return to rural areas and start businesses, while stepping up training for professional farmers, including professional agricultural managers.
Authorities will offer favorable taxation policies for business start-ups in rural areas in addition to support with financing, land use and social insurance.
Local governments are encouraged to start business parks and incubators for the returnees.
The nation will also encourage college graduates, entrepreneurs and returned students from overseas to start businesses and bring technological and managerial expertise to rural areas.
Institutions of higher learning will open more programs and courses on rural planning and rural house design.
"New industries and new types of businesses will become engines of rural development and increase the income of farmers," Tang said, adding that farming will become an enviable profession.