SCIO briefing on agriculture and rural development

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Mr. Han Changfu, minister of agriculture
Mr. Han Jun, director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group
Mr. Ye Zhenqin, vice minister of agriculture
Mr. Wu Hongyao, deputy director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office

Sept. 29, 2017

Wu Hongyao:

Agricultural supply-side structural reform involves using the reform approach to promote the adjustment of the agricultural structure, so that the supply of agricultural products better fit ongoing changes in demand, thus being better able to meet consumers' expectations. Over the past two years, various regions and departments have implemented fully the spirit of the No. 1 Central Documents, deeply promoted agricultural supply-side structural reform, and made positive progress mainly in the following aspects.

First, the structure of agricultural production has been constantly improving. Fostering high quality products and distinctively local products has become the direction of current agricultural development. In the past, we cared only about yield. Now, we rely on high-quality brands to develop the market and improve incomes at all levels.

Second, we are fostering an environment-friendly mode of agricultural development. Green ecology has become the consensus for agricultural development.

Third, we have speeded up reform of the rural industrial structure. In particular, the integration of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries, and promoting flourishing new industries and businesses in rural areas, all of which have injected fresh impetus into agricultural and overall rural development. These have all become the most prominent agricultural and rural development highlights. Overall, the ecological and cultural values of rural areas, and such functions as sightseeing and recreation, are becoming investment hot spots.

As for rural reform, we have mainly activated the following three points.

First is to activate the market. The reform of the agricultural products' purchase and storage system has achieved remarkable results. The reform of the guaranteed base price policy for cotton is better than expected. We have initially established the pricing mechanism for agricultural products, activated the mainstay market of industrial chains, guaranteed the basic income of farmers, and enhanced the overall efficiency and competitiveness of agriculture.

Second is to activate the key elements. We have implemented measures for separating land ownership rights, contract rights, and management rights for contracted rural land. We have taken steady steps to reform the rural collective property rights system. We have also made overall arrangements to carry out pilot reforms with regard to rural land requisition, the marketization of rural collective land designated for commercial construction and the system covering rural residential land. Through a series of reforms, we have made rural resources proactive and effective, and the potential of the rural economy is gradually being played out.

Third is to activate the principal parts. The principal production and service parts in new agriculture continue to develop in various forms and in moderate scale. At the same time, governments at all levels are paying great attention to supporting small-scale production. By strengthening cooperation and service, small producers are gradually being brought into the track of agricultural modernization. Thanks.

Economic Daily:

I'm concerned about the crop seed industry. A modern crop seed industry is a strong symbol of modern agriculture. In recent years, China has made a series of arrangements to grow the industry. Would you like to elaborate on the industry's development? Thank you.

Han Changfu:

China is a large agricultural country with a big population. It ranks first in the world in the output of many agricultural products, so it is necessary for the country to have its own crop seed industry.

In recent years, the industry has seen obvious changes as a result of unswerving sci-tech and institutional innovations. These changes can be summarized as follows:

First, the industry is now significantly more capable of innovation. In 2016, the number of intellectual property applications for new seed products doubled that of five years ago. Seed strains independently bred by China now account for 95 percent of those used for the country's staple crops. For the two staple crops of rice and wheat, the proportion is 100 percent. For vegetables, the proportion of foreign-bred strains has been reduced across the board to 13 percent from 20 percent five years ago.

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