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Reinforcing the Foundations of Food Security on All Fronts

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-08-24

In recent years, China has continuously recorded bumper harvests and maintained an ample food supply.

Amid grave and complicated international developments, global agricultural trade is currently beset with increasing uncertainty and instability. Due to its large population base and ongoing consumption upgrading, China is still seeing inevitable growth in the demand for grain, which is creating added pressure for the task of ensuring food security.

It is therefore necessary to adopt a combination of measures to strengthen the material underpinnings for our efforts to boost grain production through farmland management and the application of technology. We also need to improve the mechanisms for ensuring farmers profit from growing grain and local governments shoulder the responsibility for grain production.

By cementing the foundations of food security from the perspectives of land, technology, profit, and responsibility, we should endeavor to ensure national grain output remains at over 650 million metric tons, maximize production, and deliver a continuous rise in the rate of China's self-sufficiency for soybeans and oilseed crops.

We should focus on the two key points of seeds and arable land. In managing arable land, we will strictly maintain the acreage of land but also carefully regulate its use and improve its quality.

We need to adopt measures with real teeth to keep the total area of farmland above the red line of 120 million hectares. We must adhere to the principle of using high-quality and fertile arable land for planting grain and keep the total grain acreage stable, while seeing that orchards and nursery stock are cultivated on hills and slopes where possible and relying more on protected agriculture and plant factories for vegetable horticulture.

We should gradually transform all 103.067 million hectares of permanent basic farmland into high-standard land, with solid measures taken to develop every plot to the required standard.

To ensure food security, we need to increasingly rely on technology and seeds. We should prioritize the development of key and core agricultural technologies and invigorate the seed industry. We should accelerate R&D and application of urgently needed agricultural machinery and boost the overall efficiency of the scientific and technological innovation system for agriculture.

This will enable us to move faster in achieving a high level of self-reliance and strength in agricultural science and technology.

We should devote greater energy to increasing yield per unit area, develop integrated variety-specific plans based on high-quality land, seeds, techniques, machinery, and production methods, and use technology to boost output and productivity.

Farmers must be motivated to grow grains, and local governments must be motivated to focus on grain production. We will improve the mechanism of income guarantee for grain growers by means of both policy support and operational efficiency.

We will refine the integrated policies for pricing, subsidies, and insurance. This includes continuing to raise minimum purchase prices for wheat, maintaining the right level of minimum purchase prices and subsidies for rice, and increasing subsidies for soybean producers. We will also expand policy-based purchase and storage schemes, carry out market-based purchasing, and move faster to institute long-term support policies. With gradual steps, we will expand the scope of full-cost insurance and income insurance for the three major grain crops of rice, wheat, and corn, and improve the mechanism for providing agricultural supplies at stable prices.

To achieve cost savings and boost quality and efficiency, we need to develop new approaches for grain production and management and extend industrial chains.

We should see that both Party committees and governments assume responsibility for food security and local governments take concrete measures to promote agriculture and grain production. We must encourage concerted efforts to ensure food security among major grain-producing regions, major grain-consumption regions, and regions where grain production and sales are in equilibrium.

We must improve the mechanism for subsidizing major grain-producing regions and take practical steps to see that such regions are adequately compensated by major grain-consumption regions.