President Xi stresses ensuring grain, other agri-products supply a top priority

By Wang Cong and Liu Yang (Global Times) 09:55, March 16, 2023

China will fully promote rural vitalization and accelerate the pace of agricultural and rural modernization in order to build the country into a great agricultural power by the middle of this century, President Xi Jinping stressed in an article set to be published on Thursday.

The article focusing on agricultural and rural modernization will be published in this year's sixth issue of the Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Thursday, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.

The article called for more efforts in promoting the modernization of agriculture and rural areas, with the goal of building up the country's strength in agriculture. During this process, ensuring stable and safe supplies of grain and other important agricultural products is always the top priority, the article said, adding that advancing rural revitalization across the board is an important task.

The Chinese top leader has been repeatedly stressing the importance of agricultural and rural modernization. During a speech at this year's two sessions, which concluded on Monday, Xi also stressed that building up strength in agriculture is the foundation of a great modern socialist country, and promoting agricultural modernization is an essential requirement for achieving high-quality development, according to Xinhua.

Rural vitalization and agricultural modernization are a crucial part of China's pursuit of Chinese modernization and have become a top priority, with top decision-makers and various policy documents focusing on the issue. This year's Government Work Report, for example, mentioned the word "rural" 42 times and the words "agriculture" or "agricultural" 18 times. The report listed stabilizing grain output and advancing rural vitalization as a top priority for this year.

"For any society, without the modernization of agriculture, there will be no modernization of the whole society," Ma Wenfeng, a senior analyst at the Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultancy, told the Global Times on Wednesday. "only by realizing the modernization of agriculture can the goal of national rejuvenation be realized."

The level of China's agricultural modernization still lags behind that of many developed countries as well as that of other areas in China's economic and social development, therefore, "developing the agricultural sector is a must," Li Guoxiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Experts said that agricultural modernization means greater mechanization rate and significantly improved efficiency in agricultural productions. Also, agricultural tech breakthroughs are necessary in such areas as seeds, experts noted.

The article to be published by Qiushi also stressed that building up the country's strength in agriculture needs to rely on science and technology and reforms as its main driving forces, according to Xinhua.

China's robust effort in pursuing agricultural and rural modernization is not only crucial for realizing the country's second centenary goal, but is also critical in ensuring food security amid rising global challenges, industry experts said.

"Under the current international situation, our agricultural products, including grain and oilseeds, rely heavily on the international market, so we must focus on food security and increase our self-reliance to keep our own rice bowl in our own hands," Li said.

To ensure food security, this year's Government Work Report also set a target grain output of over 650 million tons in 2023. Chinese Premier Li Qiang also said on Monday that China will make sure that the rice bowls of its 1.4 billion people will always be firmly held in their own hands, stressing that government policies in support of grain production will only increase this year.

In 2022, China's total grain output in 2022 hit a new record high of nearly 1.3731 trillion jin, or 686.53 billion kilograms, up 7.4 billion jinfrom the previous year, according to official data.

Also crucial for food security, the area of cultivated farmland stood at 1.775 billion mu (118.33 million hectares), up 0.6 percent from last year. Per unit output of grain reached 387 kg per mu, official data showed.

"A major country cannot never rely on the international market for food, ensuring our own food production and security is imperative," Ma said.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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