New Agro Methods on Top Agenda

China's pending entry into the WTO and the rapid development of its open market system have pushed the country's agricultural sector to seek more advanced management methods, according to senior agricultural officials.

The so-called "industrialized management of agriculture," which focuses on integrating farming production, processing and market sales, has been put at the top of the central government's development plan for the next five years.

Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao told a national meeting in Beijing yesterday that one advantage of adopting such management methods is to help farmers better satisfy market demands.

China will establish a group of leading agro-enterprises to deal with fiercer international competition after its entry into the WTO, said Vice-Minister of Agriculture Wan Baorui.

Qualified agro-enterprises will be combined to set up leading groups so they can be developed into major players in the international market, said Wan.

These groups will also be encouraged to co-operate with foreign companies in the fields of capital, technology and management.
It was announced yesterday that 151 national leading agro-enterprises have already been set up, said Wan.

They will work under preferential policies set by the government, including financial, banking, taxation and foreign trade support policies.

In the 10th Five-Year Plan period (2000-05), more leading groups with more advanced technological facilities and more economic power will be established, said the vice-minister.

These enterprises are expected to play leading roles in agricultural restructuring, which will benefit farmers by increasing their incomes.
More market-orientated methods, including the adoption of a share-holding system, will be used to consolidate the strength of the agro-enterprises.

For example, qualified enterprises will be encouraged to list on the stock exchange in order to get more development funds, according to Wan.

These enterprises will also be encouraged by the government to improve their technological innovation and their ability to compete in the marketplace.

China's individual farmers face great challenges from the open market. But co-operation between agro-enterprises and farmers will integrate agricultural production with the processing and marketing sectors, and greatly improve the competitiveness of all.

Farmers will hold shares in enterprises and the country will encourage the development of "agencies" as a bridge between the two parts of the industry and protect the farmers' rights and interests.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there are around 30,000 agricultural management organizations involving 39 million farmers.

(China Daily 11/08/2000)

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