Governments at all levels should give top priority to the development of agriculture and the welfare of the 800 million rural population, Vice-Premier Li Lanqing said Friday.
Speaking at a panel discussion of deputies to the fifth session of the National People's Congress from Shandong Province, Li said the greatest efforts have to be made to develop modern agriculture and factory farming, and raise farmers' income.
Modern agriculture must be market-oriented, based on science and technology and driven by large companies, he said.
Such firms should have a modern corporate system, rely on technological progress, employ modern marketing skills, organize tens of thousands of farmers in massive production, enter both domestic and international markets and help farmers earn more money, Li said.
China's accession to the World Trade Organization presents an opportunity as well as a challenge to China's agriculture. "The priority for us now is to establish a sound system for farm products quality control and licensing, and improve the competitive of our farm products in the international market," the vice-premier said.
(Xinhua News Agency March 10, 2002)