SCIO briefing on the development of agriculture and rural areas in 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020)

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Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Liu Huanxin. Now let's begin the question and answer session. Please state the news outlet you represent first.


During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, in order to adapt to the people's need from eating to allay their hunger to eating for nutrition, the focus of agricultural development has been shifted from a quantity-oriented to quality-oriented approach. I want to know, after five years of hard work, what measures have been taken to maintain the security of important agricultural products such as grain? What are your next considerations? Thank you.

Liu Huanxin:

This question is a very good one, and it is also an issue of great concern to all sectors of society and the general public. As you said, people's living standards have improved and consumption is changing from eating to allay their hunger to eating for nutrition and health. To effectively meet the upgraded consumption needs of the common people, agricultural and rural departments at all levels continue to deepen the supply-side structural reforms of the agriculture, vigorously promote measures to revitalize agriculture through high-quality and green development, and to strengthen agriculture by building brands. The supply levels of important agricultural products such as grain has increased significantly. Next, I will summarize it in three aspects:

First, adequate supply. Food supply has always been our top priority in the last five years. We have vigorously implemented strategies to ensure the supply of important agricultural products, and the supply of grain and important non-staple food has been adequate. Grain production has further increased and stabilized at above 1.3 trillion jin (650 billion kilograms) annually, guaranteeing each citizen 470 kilograms of grain on a yearly basis. This is much higher than the internationally recognized food safety line of 400 kilograms. We have worked to ensure food supply for 1.4 billion Chinese people through our own efforts. The production capacity for cotton, edible oil and sugar also improved. We also saw good harvests for products included in the "vegetable basket" (non-grain food supply). In 2019, China produced 77.59 million tons of meat, 33.09 million tons of eggs, 32.01 million tons of milk, 274 million tons of fruit, 721 million tons of vegetables, and 64.8 million tons of aquatic products. And the overall output of these products is expected to steadily increase this year. I would say that the "rice bag" (grain supply) and "vegetable basket" (non-staple food supply) are both diversifying. As long as there is demand, there is supply. 

Second, better structures. Led by market demands, we have improved the agricultural structure in the last five years. The supply of green and quality agricultural products has increased significantly. The structure of crop planting has continued to improve. In the past, wheat was mainly used to make steamed buns and noodles, but now 35.8% of the wheat planted is high- and low-gluten wheat used to make bread, cakes and pastries. The planting area of quality rice has further expanded; the soybean planting area has increased annually for five consecutive years; the cultivated land change from growing grain crops to cultivating feed crops has exceeded 15 million mu (1 million hectares), and a production mix of food, cash, and fodder crops has initially taken shape. Animal husbandry is also upgrading at a faster pace. The proportion of large-scale hog breeding has reached 53% of all hog breeding. Beef and mutton production also increased rapidly. More and more consumers are now choosing domestically produced milk powder, meeting the need for a consumption structure upgrade. 

Third, improved quality. We have attached greater importance to quality and safety in the last five years. To ensure quality production and supervision, we have set up a production standard system for edible agricultural products and fully implemented the system for granting certificates of quality. Quality and safety monitoring show that over 97% of agricultural products are up to standard. We now have more robust measures in place to ensure food safety. More than 49,200 agricultural cases have been granted certificates for green, organic or GI (Geographical Indication) products. More and more green and quality agricultural products are now available in the supermarkets and on dining tables.  

Next, to better meet people's growing expectations for a better life, we will implement strategies to ensure the supply of important agricultural products, continue to deepen the supply-side structural reform in agriculture and implement a regional production and supply plan for important agricultural products. In addition, we will continue to stabilize grain production, increase the supply of products included in the "vegetable basket," improve the structure of agricultural products, and enhance their quality, efficiency and competitiveness. Thank you.

The Poster News APP:

What measures have the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs taken to accelerate the integration of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries in rural areas during the 13th Five-Year Plan period? How effective are the measures? Thank you. 

Liu Huanxin:

The integration of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries is a crucial issue in agricultural and rural development. I will first invite Mr. Wei to answer the question. 

Wei Baigang:

Thank you for your question. In 2015, the State Council's General Office released the Guidelines on Advancing the Integration of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Industries in Rural Areas. In the past few years, all departments in all locales have earnestly put in place the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on accelerating industrial development in rural areas. Based on agricultural resources and other resources of the rural areas, we have accelerated the development of industries that can increase farmers' incomes; speed up the integration of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries; and made great efforts to keep more jobs in the rural areas and to give more added value of the secondary and tertiary industries to farmers. I'd like to summarize the measures and their results in the following aspects. 

First, we have vigorously developed the agricultural product processing industry. In 2019, China was home to 1,600 agricultural products processing parks and 81,000 processing enterprises above designated size. The industry reported revenue of more than 22 trillion yuan and created over 30 million jobs.  

Second, we have vigorously developed industries with rural characteristics. A number of characteristic industrial towns with an output value of over one billion yuan have been built as well as characteristic industrial villages with an output value of over 100 million yuan. A number of rural craft technologies have been discovered.

Third, we have accelerated the development of rural leisure tours. We have built a number of high-quality leisure scenic spots and promoted a variety of key leisure and tourist itineraries. In recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has promoted a total of 1,000 high-quality rural itineraries for tourists, making them popular among urban residents wishing to travel to the countryside during the National Day holiday. In 2019, rural recreational tourism received 3.2 billion tourists with its revenue exceeding 850 billion yuan.

Fourth, we have boosted the growth of new rural services. In 2019, the output value of agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, the fishery industry and supporting activities reached 650 billion yuan. There were more than 30,000 agriculture-related e-commerce businesses. Rural online sales reached 1.7 trillion yuan, including 400 billion yuan from online sales of agricultural products.

With the strong support of favorable policies, we have speeded up the building of platforms for rural industry development. A total of 151 modern national agricultural parks have been set up nationwide. This has encouraged local authorities of provinces, cities and counties to develop more than 3,000 modern agricultural parks and over 1,000 agricultural associations, as well as more than 800 towns with a prosperous agricultural industry. The rapid growth of rural industry and the accelerated integration of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors now provide important support in increasing employment and incomes for farmers and a significant growth pole for rural economic development.

Next, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will continue to pursue supply-side structural reform of agriculture. Our main tasks are to keep striving to build platforms for the integrated development of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in rural areas, focus on key industries, attract resources, boost innovation and leadership, extend the industrial chain, and upgrade the value chain so as to accelerate the formation of rural development pattern in which farmers, enterprises and society all participate. Thank you.

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