SCIO press conference on priorities for all-round rural revitalization in 2023

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Farmers' Daily with

Ensuring national food security is the top priority of rural work in agriculture, rural areas, and rural residents. What is the current national food security situation in China? In order to ensure national food security, what specific measures will be taken next? Thank you.

Tang Renjian:

Thank you for your questions. Ensuring national food security is the primary task of building China's strength in agriculture. Regarding the situation you asked about, we all know that we faced the intertwined and overlapping challenges of the pandemic and disasters last year. International grain prices fluctuated dramatically, and there was a severe situation caused by the impact of high agricultural material prices. Nevertheless, China's grain production has achieved another harvest, with a stable output of over 1.3 trillion jin (650 million metric tons) for eight consecutive years. We have made the food supply more stable, better, and more secure for more than 1.4 billion Chinese people, which has provided important support for stabilizing expectations, prices, and confidence. However, we must also see that the pressure to keep our rice bowls safe is increasing due to the large population base, the upgrading of consumption, the growth in food demand, and the increasing uncertainty and instability of global agricultural trade. Next, we must take multiple measures and comprehensive actions to strengthen the foundation of food security from all aspects.

In terms of goals, we will focus on stabilizing the grain acreage, increasing the per-unit crop yield, and striving for greater output. First, we must stabilize the grain acreage, which is the foundation of grain production. We will promote multiple cropping in southern provinces, implement projects to increase the per-unit yield of soybeans and corn (because the per-unit yield of both is now relatively low), and ensure that grain output remains above 650 million metric tons by carrying out the establishment of farmland with an annual yield of 1000 kg per mu. At the same time, we will intensify efforts to expand the planting of soybean and other oil crops, solidly promote the belt-like compound planting of soybeans and corn, support the rotation of grain and soybeans in Northeast China and the Huang-Huai-Hai region, and steadily develop and utilize saline-alkali land for planting soybeans. Pilot projects in some areas have shown good results, and we have opened up a new resource to expand production and increase output with multiple oil crops. Second, we must increase production capacity. The CPC Central Committee and this year's No. 1 central document have made it clear that we must launch and implement a new round of action to increase grain production capacity by 50 billion kilograms, concentrate necessary resources, and use all means to promote the early attainment of a new level of grain production capacity. Typically, every 50 billion kilograms represents one further level, which means we have to reach over 700 million metric tons (from 650 million metric tons). In addition, we must establish a broad concept of food, formulate plans by sector, accelerate the building of a diversified food supply system, and enrich the sources of food varieties.

In terms of measures, we will focus on strengthening the material foundation for crop production based on farmland management and technological application. One is to strengthen infrastructure construction. We will strictly control the usage of farmland, resolutely ensure the area of farmland remains above the red line of 120 million hectares, complete the annual task of new construction and upgrading of high-standard farmland, and promptly formulate an implementation plan to gradually develop all permanent basic cropland into high-standard cropland. This is a big move, involving 103 million hectares of permanent basic cropland. We will use modern agricultural facilities to better ensure food security. The second is to strengthen the support of scientific and technological equipment. We will promote the breakthrough of key and core agricultural technologies, deeply implement the seed industry revitalization action, build up our strength in agricultural technology at a faster pace, focus on improving per unit crop yield, and come up with comprehensive solutions for integrating good soil, good crop varieties, good methods, good machinery, and good mechanisms for each variety, and rely on science and technology to increase the grain output and capacity.

In terms of policy, the focus is to improve institutional safeguards for farmers to grow grain and make a profit and for local governments to take responsibility for grain production. I just talked about the point of strengthening the material foundation for crop production based on farmland management and technological application. The point I’m talking about now emphasizes the improvement of the institutional assurance for farmers to grow grain and make money and for local governments to take responsibility for grain production. The two points come down to these four words: farmland, technology, profit, and responsibility. The first is policy guidance. We need to improve the income guarantee mechanism for grain growers, continue to raise the minimum purchase price of wheat, reasonably determine the minimum purchase price of rice, stabilize rice subsidies, improve corn and soybean producers' subsidies, increase soybean subsidies, and promote the expansion of policy-based purchase and storage of soybeans and market-based purchases. We will gradually expand the implementation scope of full-cost insurance and planting income insurance for rice, wheat, and corn and improve the mechanism for ensuring the supply and stabilizing the price of agricultural materials. At the same time, it is necessary to improve the interest compensation mechanism for major grain-producing areas and increase the scale of rewards for major grain-producing counties. The second is to ensure fulfillment of responsibilities. This year, we will continue to assign the grain production targets and tasks approved by the State Council to all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, and ensure the planting area set for each variety is not compromised. We will strictly assess the performance of provincial Party committees and governments under the accountability system for farmland protection and food security, and promote the implementation of policies and measures through the fulfillment of responsibilities. Thank you.

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