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Government to Halt Fall in Grain Production

The government has pledged to help boost the country's grain production capacity and increase farmers' income amid falling wheat output.

The promise was made during a State Council conference chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao Tuesday.

The country's wheat output dropped for the fourth consecutive year to its lowest level since the mid-1980s, according to a report from the State Cereal and Oil Information Center issued early this month.

The report said that by the end of this year's harvest, China's wheat output will have reached only 86 million tons, a year-on-year drop of 5 percent.

The information center attributed the reduction in wheat output to the shrinking cropping area. Only 22 million hectares were planted with grain this year, the smallest area since 1950, and 7.9 percent down from 2002.

The conference concluded that governments at various levels must do more to support major grain producing areas and allow farmers to take the initiative.

They should also inject more into agriculture and improve farming infrastructure.

The conference highlighted the importance of improving the industry's structure. Participants at the meeting said the solution lay in expanding the production capacity of major grain areas, rather than simply decreasing the planted area of grain.

(China Daily October 22, 2003)

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Grain Output to Fall for the 5th Consecutive Year
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