China's government Sunday warned 2009 will be "possibly the toughest year" since the turn of the century in terms of securing economic development and consolidating the "sound development momentum" in agriculture and rural areas.
The lingering global financial crisis and the slowdown of the world economy had exerted an increasingly negative impact on the Chinese economy, said the first document of the year issued jointly by the State Council and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
"The development of agriculture and rural areas in 2009 is of special significance," it said.
"The biggest potential for boosting domestic demand lies in rural areas; the foundation for securing steady and relative fast economic growth is based upon agriculture; the toughest work of securing and improving people's livelihoods stays with farmers."
In the document, the sixth of its kind to address rural problems, the government urged authorities to take resolute measures to avoid declining grain production and stagnancy in farmers' incomes and to ensure the steady expansion of agriculture and rural stability.