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China to advance agricultural modernization

Source:   Time:

BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- China concluded a rural work conference on Tuesday, vowing to push forward agricultural modernization through reform and innovation.

China made great progress in rural development in 2014 with its 11th consecutive bumper harvest and an increase in farm income, according to a statement released after the two-day central conference, which sets the tone for next year.

"However, China is facing 'unprecedented' challenges if it wants to achieve sustained and stable development in the agricultural sector," said the statement, citing rising agricultural production costs, impaired cultivation and limited arable land and fresh water.

Therefore, China will strive to transform the pattern of agricultural development, raise the output rate of the land, increase resource utilization rate to attain intensive and sustainable growth.

Under the economic "new normal", agricultural modernization is of great significance to stabilizing economic growth, adjusting structure and improving people's livelihood.

Top policymakers at the meeting pledged to make more efforts to speed up agricultural modernization in order to unleash farmer consumption potential and spur investment in rural infrastructure.

A growing agricultural sector will also forge new engines to propel China's economic expansion, according to the statement.

"Food security is China's top priority during the agricultural modernization process. China will keep cereal largely self-sufficient and staples absolutely safe," the statement read.

Farmers are encouraged to form new agricultural entities in an innovative way to achieve economies of scale.

To facilitate associating farmers and their lands, China will guide orderly transfer of management rights of rural lands to new agricultural entities.

China will exploit agricultural resources in a more friendly and "greener" way to protect farm land and fresh water.

Policymakers decided to extend greater policy support and beef up financial support to underpin rural development.

China will actively push forward the construction of "new socialist countryside" and improve living environment for farmers.

The country will also wage a war against poverty and release more farmers from poverty. At the same time, rural residents are encouraged to take advantage of urbanization and start small businesses.

The Central Rural Work Conference is an annual event for Chinese policymakers to deliberate on and map out rural policies for next year.

The meeting discussed a guideline of deepening rural reform and advancing agricultural modernization.

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