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China Lost 2% of Its Farmland in 2003

The arable land area in China dropped by 2.01 percent in 2003 over the previous year to 123.3922 million ha, according to a report on land and resources released Friday by the government.

The average arable land per capita in the country has dropped from 0.098 ha in 2002 to 0.095 ha in 2003, said the report published by the Ministry of Land and Resources.

Compared with the previous year, the gardening area increased by 2.7 percent to 11.0816 million ha and the mowing area saw a drop of 0.16 percent to 263.1118 million ha in 2003, said the report.

In 2003, construction projects occupied a land area of 427,800 ha.

In the past years, the Chinese government has taken active measures to increase the area of arable land. During the period from 2001 to 2003, the Ministry of Land and Resources launched 731projects to recover and protect arable land of 473,900 ha.

The Chinese government strengthened its management over land resources and have tightened the control over the use of land. The use of land for big projects, such as Three Gorges Project, and electricity and gas transfer projects, was all approved by the State Council.

(Xinhua News Agency April 9, 2004)

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