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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

Protection of farmland enhanced, minister says

By Zhou Siyu (China Daily)

09:23, March 12, 2012

Xu Shaoshi, minister of land and resources, was so much in demand for interviews that he was jokingly "held hostage" by a reporter at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sunday. (Feng Yongbin / China Daily)

China is "very confident" of guaranteeing its bottom line of 120 million hectares of farmland to ensure the nation's food security, Minister of Land and Resources Xu Shaoshi said on Sunday.

"The central government has attached great importance to preserving farmland and local governments have also enhanced their efforts to protect farmland in recent years," Xu said while attending the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing.

In 2011, the country restored a total of 300,000 hectares of farmland and developed 4 million hectares of high-quality farmland, according to data from the ministry.

The ministry is optimistic about its plans to develop 27 million hectares of high-quality farmland by the end of 2015, Xu said.

China has achieved increased grain output for eight consecutive years. In 2011, the country's grain output increased 4.5 percent year-on-year to a record of 571 million tons, which already meets the government's 2020 grain output target, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

But agricultural experts said shrinking natural resources, such as farmland and water, posed severe challenges to maintaining the level of grain output.

Industry data showed that the country's farmland has shrunk by more than 8 million hectares since 1997.

Illegal land use, sanctioned by local governments to construct projects such as golf courses, railways and industrial parks, is an obstacle to the nation's farmland preservation, according to the ministry.

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