The three northeastern provinces, China's major grain production base, vowed Friday to make bigger contribution to the country's grain security by yielding more grain while invigorating the "rust belt" industrial base.
Governors of the three provinces, Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, promised at a press conference held on the sidelines of the national legislature's annual session that they will not reduce their grain production capacity as they are making intensified efforts to regain the past glory of the heavy industrial base.
The provinces provide one third of China's total commodity grain a year.
Zhang Zuoji, governor of Heilongjiang, said the province will expand grain output by 3-4 billion kg this year for a total of 28-29 billion kg.
The central and provincial governments will allocate over 6 billion yuan (US$725 million) in transfer of payments to encourage farmers to grow grain, which means over 100 yuan (US$12) for each grain farmer in the province, Zhang said.
Hong Hu, governor of Jilin, said grain growers in the province are expected to earn 1.7 billion yuan (US$205 million) more than last year from government subsidies, tax reduction and other policies.
Jilin produces one seventh of the country's corn, and corn kept in warehouses of the province accounts for half of the national total. Its corn exports make up three quarters of the country's total.
"The province will never relax in grain production," Hong said.
China's grain output decreased to a record low of 430 million tons last year in the fifth consecutive year, from a record of some 520 million tons in 1998, due to shrinking farmland sown to grain crops and natural disasters.
(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2004)