China plans to create farmland of 2.74 million hectares through reclamation by 2010, according to the plan released by China's Land and Resources Ministry.
According to the plan, about 1.6 million hectares of the new arable lands will come through developing lands scattered around villages by 2010.
Moreover, the reclamation of abandoned mining and construction sites can create about 350,000 hectares of farmlands while about 730,000 hectares of farmland will come through cultivating undeveloped lands by 2010, the plan said.
With the rapid growth of China's economy, a large number of farmlands have been covered or abandoned for construction, ecological projects and natural disasters.
China's arable acreage is shrinking, reducing in 2002 by 1.32 percent from 2001 to 125.9 million hectares.
But there are still potential arable lands scattered around rural areas that have been little utilized, and a large number of lands are abandoned by mining closures and natural disasters every year.
There are about 13.4 million hectares of potential farmlands in China, according to the official statistics.
"China's goal is to maintain the balance between used farmlands and added farmlands, both in number and quality," said Sun Wensheng, vice minister of CLRM.
To achieve the goal, we must increase the efficiency of land use to ensure unit production and sustainable development of arable lands, said Sun.
In order to curb the sharp decrease of farmlands, the ministry has taken great efforts to ensure strict adherence to rules and regulations in use of land for construction in recent year.
"The other important principle is to protect the environment during the land utilization and reclamation," added Sun.
Per-capita farmland area is merely 0.097 hectares in China, making up less than 50 percent of the world's average level.
(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2003)