China's hillside farm areas lose 1.5 billion tons of soil annually, about a third of the nation's total soil loss each year, said Vice Water Resources Minister E Jingping on Friday.
E said hillside farmland had become a primary source of erosion, with about 40 to 60 kilograms of soil lost in producing a kilogram of grain on slopes on the northern Loess Plateau.
China has about 21.3 million hectares of hillside farmland, about 18 percent of the total.
Farmers also found it difficult to grow crops on slopes that were easily eroded.
The ministry said it would help farmers working on hillsides at an incline above 25 degrees to build terraces, so the soil could be better contained, said E.
About 3.3 million hectares of hillside farmland were scattered along the upper Yangtze River, the Loess Plateau on the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River, and in northeast provinces.
The ministry has banned farming and forestry projects on all hillsides at an incline above 25 degrees.
(Xinhua News Agency June 30, 2007)