China has tripled its subsides for improved strains of seeds in a bid to increase grain output and growers' income, officials with the Ministry of Agriculture said Friday.
The officials, who declined to be named, said China increased the country's subsidies this year from 300 million yuan (about US$36 million) to one billion yuan (some US$120 million).
More crops and more grain-producing areas have been covered by the preferential policy as improved strains of rice and corn were added to the list, which previously had included soybeans and wheat, said the officials.
A total of 13 major grain-producing provincial areas are entitled to the subsidies, as against only nine last year, the official said.
The acreage under rice in seven provinces covered by the policy grew by 2.08 million ha to 14.25 million ha, or up 17 percent, and farmers planted more quality rice and wheat this year, according to the figures released by the ministry.
The acreage of areas planted with quality early rice totaled 6.12 million ha this year, up 930,000 ha over the previous year, while areas under quality summer wheat was up by one million to a total of 9.33 million ha this year.
The subsidies from the central government also prompted local governments to allocate resources for better strain seeds, said the officials.
To cope with rising grain prices during the past two years and concerns over food security, the Chinese government has invest more in agriculture and improved its protection of dwindling farmland resources due to industrial real estate development.
(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2004)