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China to Increase Declining Farmland by 2015

29 May 2012

CHINA - Aiming to decrease the grain security risk brought up by the declining area of arable land and reinforce national grain security guarantee ability, China plans to increase the area of arable land by 1.6 million ha. during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), based on CCM International’s latest issue of Crop Protection China News.

According to Dong Zuoji, an official from Ministry of Land and Resources of China (MLR), China will make great effort to the consolidation of land in the rural and city areas, especially those rural construction lands that are now abandoned, idle and inefficiently used. Mr Zuoji said that within four years time, China will increase effective area of arable land by 1.6 million hectares (ha.) before 2015.

Moreover, despite the plan above, China also plans to build up high standard farmland of 26.67 million ha. during this period. The total investment of the plan is predicted to reach $95.24 million. After the construction of the high standard farmland project, China's grain production capacity is predicted to increase by 25,000,000 tonnes per annum (t/a).

The plan will be executed in several stages in four years time. So far, the first stage of the plan has been issued to 31 provincial governments and municipal governments in China. The goal of the plan in it's first stage is to finish the construction of the high standard farmland with an area of 6.67 million ha. in 2012. The remaining 20 million ha. of the construction area is regulated to be finished in the coming three years.

As the urbanisation in China is speeding up, the arable land in China has been shrinking quickly in the past few years. Stopping the arable land shrinking and defending the red line of 120 million ha. of arable land have became urgent tasks for the Chinese government. Even though policies have been carried out to stimulate farmers planting enthusiasm, the prices of main grains have been restrained by the Chinese government at a certain level to maintain the stablisation of prices. Therefore the farmers income still remains at a relatively low level which leads to the continuous shrinking of arable land area.

It has been calculated by the agricultural department in Shandong Province that grain output will increase by about 2.25 tonnes while the area of high standard of basic farmland increases for one ha. With the prediction that Chinese population will reach the peak in 2030, China has to build up at least 66.67 million ha. of high standard farmland to meet the grain demand.

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