Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the first press conference held by the State Council Information Office in the current Year of the Rooster. I wish all of you a happy New Year.
Yesterday, Xinhua News Agency was authorized to publish "Opinions on Deepening Supply-side Structural Reform in Agriculture and Accelerating the Cultivation of New Growth Engines in Agriculture and Rural Areas," which is this year's "No. 1 central document." Today, we have invited Mr. Tang Renjian, deputy head of Central Rural Work Leading Group and director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group, and Mr. Han Jun, deputy director of the Office of the group, to brief you about the document and take your questions. I'll hand over to Mr. Tang.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
I will give you a brief introduction about "Opinions on Deepening Supply-side Structural Reform in Agriculture and Accelerating the Cultivation of New Growth Engines in Agriculture and Rural Areas," which is this year's "No.1 central document."
I. Current Situation of Agriculture and Rural Areas
In 2016, under the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, related departments in all regions strengthened their work on further development of agriculture, rural areas and farmers' livelihood. The development of agriculture and rural areas is maintaining a good momentum, which can be summed up in three keywords: steadiness, progressiveness and novelty.
Steadiness means that the general situation is stable. Firstly, agricultural production is stable. The total grain output in 2016 was 1.23 trillion jin (about 616.25 million tons), down by 10.4 billion jin (5.2 million tons) from the previous year, but still the second highest historically. Secondly, farmers' incomes continued to steadily improve. The per capita disposable income of rural residents in 2016 was 12,363 yuan, a nominal increase of 8.2 percent, or 6.2 percent in real terms, a higher growth rate than the income of urban residents. Thirdly, rural communities remained stable. Livelihood in the rural areas continued to improve and the rural areas overall remained stable and harmonious.
Progressiveness means that there has been progress and breakthroughs in some major fields. First, a modest breakthrough was achieved in structural adjustment of the agricultural sector. Second, rural reform is progressively deepening. Third, the battle against poverty has seen a good start as we were able to lift 10 million people out of poverty last year, over-fulfilling the target.
Novelty means that new industries and business forms are constantly emerging and new momentum and new growth engines are growing. New industries and business forms like rural tourism and e-commerce in rural areas are booming; new types of agribusiness are springing up; and business startups and innovation in rural areas have become the new fashion. All of these have created new growth engines for China's agriculture and rural economy.
II. Theme of this year's "No. 1 central document"
During the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in March 2016, when General Secretary Xi Jinping attended the group discussion of the deputies from Hunan Province, he stressed that currently, the major problems facing the agricultural sector were no longer a lack of supply and have changed to structural ones. The major structural problem is the current co-existence of excessive demands and excessive supplies.
Therefore, pushing forward the supply-side reform in the agricultural sector and increasing the sector's comprehensive benefits and competitiveness has become our major goal when formulating government policies. That's why we chose the supply-side reform as the theme of this year's "No.1 central document."
III. Highlights of the supply-side reform in the agricultural sector
The goal of the supply-side reform is to increase farmers' income and to ensure the effective supply of agricultural products. The success of the reform depends on the improvement of the supply system and production efficiency. It also depends on the increase of farmers' income and benefits.
During the reform, we should focus on the improvement of the supply quality and remain market-oriented. The supply structure should be improved to cope with the changes in demand. We should focus on quality improvement, promote technological development, and increase the comprehensive benefits and competitiveness of the agricultural sector.
To achieve these goals, we must deepen the reform, tap the potential of resources, and create new growth momentum for the agricultural sector and rural areas.
In short, we will use reforming measures to stop the previous practices that consumed too many resources, and promote a green and sustainable development of the agricultural sector. We will put our priority on quality instead of quantity, and achieve our goals of increasing farming efficiency, increasing farmers' income and improving the rural environment.
IV. Framework of this year's "No. 1 central document"
This year's "No. 1 central document" includes six sections with 33 policies and measures. They can be divided into two parts -- structural adjustments and reforms at the supply side.
The first part -- structural adjustments -- mainly includes two aspects. The first aspect is the adjustment of product structure, production methods and industrial structure.
Regarding the adjustment of product structure, we should cope with the changes in demand, reduce inefficient and low-end supply, and increase effective and high-end supply. We should promote green production methods and improve our ecosystem. We should adjust industrial structures, develop new industries and new business models, intensify the integration of the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in the rural area, and achieve an overall upgrading of the agricultural sector and a comprehensive increase of the sector's value. You can find specific policies and measures in this regard in the document.
The second aspect is strengthening technological and fundamental support. Regarding technological support, we should create innovative technologies to cope with the change from quantity-oriented development to quality-oriented development. Regarding fundamental support, we should strengthen the weak links in infrastructure and public service sectors to promote a sustainable development of agriculture and the rural area. The document also contains specific measures in this regard.
Now, let's turn to the part about reform. The essence of reform is to clarify the roles of the government and the market. To achieve that goal, we will focus on three issues.
First, we will invigorate the market. In the document, there are major policies and measures on reforming the price formation mechanism for major agricultural products, on reforming the purchase and stockpiling system, and on improving the system of subsidizing agriculture.
Second, we will boost the free flow of resources. In the document, there are policies and measures on reforming the budget system to support agriculture, on accelerating innovation in rural financial systems, on deepening the reform of the rural collective property rights system, and on exploring methods to establish a system to ensure the land supply for agricultural and rural development.
Third, we will stimulate market players. In the document, there are major policies and measures on promoting the development of new-type agricultural businesses and service providers, on exploiting human resources in the rural area, and on attracting all kinds of professionals to pursue start-ups and innovation in the rural area.
That's all what I want to brief you. Now, my colleague Han Jun and I will take questions. Thank you.