While spring farming gradually spreads from south to north, China on Tuesday unveiled its "No. 1 central document," directing work on agriculture and rural areas for 2022.
As the first policy statement released by China's central authorities each year, the document is seen as an indicator of policy priorities.
This year, the document noted a firm hold on the bottom line of guaranteeing China's grain security, calling for efforts to stabilize and increase agricultural production.
For this purpose, China is expanding grain planting areas, adopting new technology for higher yield, and adjusting planting structures.
The document highlighted that efforts will be made to enhance the production capacity of soybeans.
Li Guoxiang, a researcher at the Rural Development Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that China's soybean supply is highly dependent on imports and it is of great importance to make expanding soybean planting a policy priority in the document.
"This is conducive to increasing the domestic market supply of soybeans, reducing external dependence and improving self-sufficiency rate," Li said.
Heilongjiang Province is the largest production and supply base of high-quality soybeans in China, accounting for more than 40 percent of the country's soybean planting area.
This year, the province's soybean planting area is expected to reach about 4.57 million hectares, an increase of around 670,000 hectares compared to 2021.
Li Fuqiang, a farmer from Bei'an City in Heilongjiang Province, works in a local cooperative with some 13,000 hectares of farmland. Last year, about 3,870 hectares were dedicated to growing soybeans.
"This year, as soybean planting is encouraged, we are more confident and plan to boost the soybean growing area to more than 6,600 hectares, or half of the total farmland," Li said.
China aims to ensure the full-year grain output in 2022 stays above 650 billion kg, according to the "No. 1 central document." In major grain-producing areas, farmers adopt new technologies to boost yield.
Zeng Yuehua, a farmer from central China's Hunan Province, has increased his rice planting area by some 33 hectares this year and built a new intelligent greenhouse of 10,000 square meters.
In contrast to the traditional method of cultivating seedlings in open farmland, the greenhouse offers constant temperature and humidity, making seedling cultivation simpler and more convenient.
"It's also easier to manage while the yield can be guaranteed," Zeng said.
Local governments are offering timely assistance to farmers in adopting new technologies.
Huaxian County in central China's Henan Province is a major wheat-producing area, with a wheat planting area of about 8,000 hectares this year.
Ma Hailu, a local farmer, feels assured in the technical problems of wheat planting, as the local government has mobilized more than 200 agricultural experts to provide technical advice to the farmers.
"Whenever there is a problem, I can always make a phone call or send a message to get guidance from agricultural experts. It is very helpful." Ma said.