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China to strengthen financial support to agriculture

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BEIJING, March 3 (Xinhua) -- China's banking regulator on Tuesday urged financial institutions nationwide to channel more financial support to rural areas to help modernize the agriculture sectors.

Chinese commercial banks should increase the number of loans and financial bonds they give to rural regions, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said.

Agricultural infrastructure, including water conservation projects and road construction, in under developed areas will be prioritized.

The China Development Bank should improve services and funding channels, strengthen medium and long-term lending, while the Postal Savings Bank of China should expand its petty loan business, the CBRC said.

Banks will be encouraged to set up branches in rural areas and develop village and town banks. Small loan companies and trust institutions were also urged to make their contribution.

The CBRC also urged to strengthen support of major grain producing areas and help high-tech enterprises with research and development.

The central government issued a top-down central document in February, outlining that the transformation of agricultural development must be accelerated to build a strong and modernized industry.

China feeds more than a fifth of the world's population on only 10 percent of arable land. However, agriculture has been dwarfed by its enormous manufacturing industry.

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