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Chinese Premier: Grain Prices to Remain Stable

China's grain price would keep stable as a whole, said Premier Wen Jiabao during his inspection tour to north China's Hebei Province at the weekend.

Wen toured the rural areas of Gaocheng City in Hebei on June 4 and 5 to learn about the harvest of summer grain crops.

The government will take macro-control measures to stabilize grain prices when farmers start selling their grain after the summer harvest, said Wen.

Wen pledged that market supplies would be exhausted before the state digs into national grain reserves.

China reported a price hike last year due to falling grain output. The government has since taken measures to encourage grain production in order to avoid a possible grain shortage in the world's most populous nation.

In 2004, China produced 469.45 billion kg of grain, up 38.75 billion kg over the previous year and the highest output in 55 years. The bumper harvest also ended an output plunge that lasted five consecutive years.

With this year's summer grain harvest around the corner, Wen urged governments at all levels to help farmers in all respects to ensure another good harvest.

During his inspection tour, Wen also discussed other outstanding issues in the rural areas with local farmers, such as health care, compulsory education and drinking water supplies.

(Xinhua News Agency June 6, 2005)

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