China vows efforts to keep grain output stable in 2020

09 March 20202 min reading

China will work to keep grain production stable this year and improve planting structure, an official document said. Efforts will be made to ensure grain production to remain above 650 million tonnes, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a document outlining key tasks of planting for the year. The combined planting area of the country's three major grains -- rice, wheat and corn -- should stay above 93 million hectares, according to the document. A lockdown on the movement of people to contain the spread of the coronavirus has raised fears that farmers will be unable to plough their fields and sow crops. Hubei province, the virus epicentre with the strictest lockdown, produced 9% of China’s rice crop in 2019. The country will also optimize planting structure to increase the quality of farm produce and provide more green agricultural products, the document said. The ministry stressed the stable supply of vegetables as the country fights against the outbreak of novel coronavirus and urged better coordination across regions to ensure demand is properly met. Grain output will continue to be an important criterion for evaluating the performance of provincial governors while city mayors will be tasked with maintaining a stable supply of non-staple food, the document said. Beijing issues guideline on farming amid epidemic control Chinese authorities also issued a guideline on coordinating the novel coronavirus control measures with spring farming preparation, to ensure the country's agricultural production amid the epidemic. All provincial-level regions should keep their sown areas and grain output stable, on par with that registered last year, said the guideline issued by the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak. To secure a bumper harvest, efforts must be made to fully implement support policies such as the minimum purchase price for rice and wheat to motivate farmers. Given the severity of the epidemic, the guideline stressed taking differentiated epidemic control measures in accordance with local conditions and risk levels. Low and medium-risk regions should take necessary precautions in resuming their spring farming, while high-risk areas should progressively restart production operations and organize farmers to space out their farming time, the guideline said. It also underlined centering on the poverty alleviation tasks and giving priority to impoverished people when organizing the return trips for migrant workers and the spring farming preparation.

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