China plans to support 11 key farm products and establish 35 world-class agriculture development zones during the next five years, according to strategic guidelines drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The plan aims to fight the flooding of foreign farm products after China's access to the World Trade Organization (WTO); and helps domestic agricultural producers compete for more of the world market share, said an official with the ministry.
To set up a healthy and competitive agricultural development system, the ministry - as a first step - will give financial, policy and scientific support to 11 selected products, increasing their capacity and competitiveness.
They include special purpose wheat, special purpose corn, high-oil soybean, cotton, rape, sugarcane and milk - which have a huge demand in the domestic market.
The ministry hopes the products dominate the domestic market with reduced costs and improved sales networks to resist competition from foreign products and protect Chinese farmers' interests.
On the other hand, products with market potential and price advantage - apples, oranges, beef, mutton and aquatic products - should expand exports by building a better market image and improving quality and management.
The country will increase financial inputs to key products as well as offer preferential tax policies this year.
China will also expand agricultural subsidies to soybean and special purpose wheat this year; and then gradually extend them to other products.
There will be exemption of special agriculture tax on produce such as apples, oranges, sugarcane and aquatic products. In addition, the government will set up special funds, providing agricultural insurance to aquatic products, milk, beef and mutton.
China will also encourage the establishment of various sector associations, which will help farming enterprises deal with international disputes involving dumping, subsidies and protectionism.
(China Daily March 27, 2003)