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SCIO briefing on the 'No. 1 central document' in 2017
国务院新闻办公室网站 www.scio.gov.cn   2017-02-07   来源:China.org.cn
  

Speakers:

Tang Renjian, deputy head of Central Rural Work Leading Group and director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group

Han Jun, deputy director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group

Chairperson:

Hu Kaihong, director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Date:

Feb. 6, 2017

SCIO press conference on the "No. 1 central document" in 2017. [Liu Jian / China SCIO]

Hu Kaihong:

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the first press conference held by the State Council Information Office in the current Year of the Rooster. I wish all of you a happy New Year.

Yesterday, Xinhua News Agency was authorized to publish "Opinions on Deepening Supply-side Structural Reform in Agriculture and Accelerating the Cultivation of New Growth Engines in Agriculture and Rural Areas," which is this year's "No. 1 central document." Today, we have invited Mr. Tang Renjian, deputy head of Central Rural Work Leading Group and director of the Office of Central Rural Work Leading Group, and Mr. Han Jun, deputy director of the Office of the group, to brief you about the document and take your questions. I'll hand over to Mr. Tang.

Tang Renjian:

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

I will give you a brief introduction about "Opinions on Deepening Supply-side Structural Reform in Agriculture and Accelerating the Cultivation of New Growth Engines in Agriculture and Rural Areas," which is this year's "No.1 central document."

I. Current Situation of Agriculture and Rural Areas

In 2016, under the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, related departments in all regions strengthened their work on further development of agriculture, rural areas and farmers' livelihood. The development of agriculture and rural areas is maintaining a good momentum, which can be summed up in three keywords: steadiness, progressiveness and novelty.

Steadiness means that the general situation is stable. Firstly, agricultural production is stable. The total grain output in 2016 was 1.23 trillion jin (about 616.25 million tons), down by 10.4 billion jin (5.2 million tons) from the previous year, but still the second highest historically. Secondly, farmers' incomes continued to steadily improve. The per capita disposable income of rural residents in 2016 was 12,363 yuan, a nominal increase of 8.2 percent, or 6.2 percent in real terms, a higher growth rate than the income of urban residents. Thirdly, rural communities remained stable. Livelihood in the rural areas continued to improve and the rural areas overall remained stable and harmonious.

Progressiveness means that there has been progress and breakthroughs in some major fields. First, a modest breakthrough was achieved in structural adjustment of the agricultural sector. Second, rural reform is progressively deepening. Third, the battle against poverty has seen a good start as we were able to lift 10 million people out of poverty last year, over-fulfilling the target.

Novelty means that new industries and business forms are constantly emerging and new momentum and new growth engines are growing. New industries and business forms like rural tourism and e-commerce in rural areas are booming; new types of agribusiness are springing up; and business startups and innovation in rural areas have become the new fashion. All of these have created new growth engines for China's agriculture and rural economy.

II. Theme of this year's "No. 1 central document"

During the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) in March 2016, when General Secretary Xi Jinping attended the group discussion of the deputies from Hunan Province, he stressed that currently, the major problems facing the agricultural sector were no longer a lack of supply and have changed to structural ones. The major structural problem is the current co-existence of excessive demands and excessive supplies.

Therefore, pushing forward the supply-side reform in the agricultural sector and increasing the sector's comprehensive benefits and competitiveness has become our major goal when formulating government policies. That's why we chose the supply-side reform as the theme of this year's "No.1 central document."

III. Highlights of the supply-side reform in the agricultural sector

The goal of the supply-side reform is to increase farmers' income and to ensure the effective supply of agricultural products. The success of the reform depends on the improvement of the supply system and production efficiency. It also depends on the increase of farmers' income and benefits.

During the reform, we should focus on the improvement of the supply quality and remain market-oriented. The supply structure should be improved to cope with the changes in demand. We should focus on quality improvement, promote technological development, and increase the comprehensive benefits and competitiveness of the agricultural sector.

To achieve these goals, we must deepen the reform, tap the potential of resources, and create new growth momentum for the agricultural sector and rural areas.

In short, we will use reforming measures to stop the previous practices that consumed too many resources, and promote a green and sustainable development of the agricultural sector. We will put our priority on quality instead of quantity, and achieve our goals of increasing farming efficiency, increasing farmers' income and improving the rural environment.

IV. Framework of this year's "No. 1 central document"

This year's "No. 1 central document" includes six sections with 33 policies and measures. They can be divided into two parts -- structural adjustments and reforms at the supply side.

The first part -- structural adjustments -- mainly includes two aspects. The first aspect is the adjustment of product structure, production methods and industrial structure.

Regarding the adjustment of product structure, we should cope with the changes in demand, reduce inefficient and low-end supply, and increase effective and high-end supply. We should promote green production methods and improve our ecosystem. We should adjust industrial structures, develop new industries and new business models, intensify the integration of the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in the rural area, and achieve an overall upgrading of the agricultural sector and a comprehensive increase of the sector's value. You can find specific policies and measures in this regard in the document.

The second aspect is strengthening technological and fundamental support. Regarding technological support, we should create innovative technologies to cope with the change from quantity-oriented development to quality-oriented development. Regarding fundamental support, we should strengthen the weak links in infrastructure and public service sectors to promote a sustainable development of agriculture and the rural area. The document also contains specific measures in this regard.

Now, let's turn to the part about reform. The essence of reform is to clarify the roles of the government and the market. To achieve that goal, we will focus on three issues.

First, we will invigorate the market. In the document, there are major policies and measures on reforming the price formation mechanism for major agricultural products, on reforming the purchase and stockpiling system, and on improving the system of subsidizing agriculture.

Second, we will boost the free flow of resources. In the document, there are policies and measures on reforming the budget system to support agriculture, on accelerating innovation in rural financial systems, on deepening the reform of the rural collective property rights system, and on exploring methods to establish a system to ensure the land supply for agricultural and rural development.

Third, we will stimulate market players. In the document, there are major policies and measures on promoting the development of new-type agricultural businesses and service providers, on exploiting human resources in the rural area, and on attracting all kinds of professionals to pursue start-ups and innovation in the rural area.

That's all what I want to brief you. Now, my colleague Han Jun and I will take questions. Thank you.

People's Daily:

The "No. 1 central document" attracts attention from all walks of life. This is the 14th year in a row that the "No. 1 central document" has been devoted to agriculture, farmers and rural areas. That indicates the continuity, complexity and importance of reform. My question is for Mr. Tang: Compared to previous years, what should we pay special attention to in this year's "No. 1 central document?" Thank you.

Tang Renjian:

This year's "No. 1 central document" came up with some new policy measures in line with being realistic and innovative. These are mainly reflected in three aspects. Firstly, this time the document especially focuses on construction of the "approach, platform and carrier." The main embodiments are the "Three Zones," "Three Parks" and "One Integration."

The "Three Zones" are the functional zone for food production, the protection zone for key agricultural products and the preponderant zone for special agricultural products. The functional zone for food production is designed to secure the safety of the nation's food, such as the major food crops of rice, millet and corn. President Xi Jinping always stresses that Chinese people should have their own bowls to eat from all the time, and the bowls should be filled with as much good Chinese food as possible. The construction of the protection zone for agricultural products is to make sure that China can enjoy basic self-sufficiency in the key agricultural products, including soybean, cotton, rapeseed, sugarcane and natural rubber. Building the preponderant zone for special agricultural products is to meet the demands for variety in the market, in order to improve the comprehensive benefits and competitiveness of China's agricultural sector.

The "Three Parks" refer to the modern agriculture industrial park, the science and technology park, and the pioneer park. The modern agriculture industrial park is to assemble modern productive elements and give play to functional roles of technology integration, industry amalgamation, start-up business platform, and core area that can exert influence on surrounding areas. This will prompt the mutual fusion of functions of agricultural production, processing, logistics, R&D, pilot test and services. The major goal is to form a cluster for modern agricultural industry. Building the science and technology park is to highlight the functions of scientific innovation, science and technology application, experimental demonstration, science and technology services and training, which differs from the industrial park. The goal is to build a high plateau where modern agriculture can innovate. The pioneer park is for the talents who choose to go back to rural areas and their hometowns to advance their career. They need to start up businesses and need innovation; we have to provide necessary platforms for them. Now, many places have built such local pioneer parks, which are quite effective.

"One Integration" refers to the rural integration complex. According to the document, we will support qualified rural areas to promote such integration of circular agriculture, creative agriculture and farming experience, with agricultural cooperatives as the major carrier, while allowing farmers to fully participate and gain revenue (a necessary precondition) from it.

Generally speaking, through construction of "Three Zones," "Three Parks" and "One Integration," we can optimize the industrial structure in the countryside, promote the deep integration of primary, secondary and tertiary industries, put together the key elements of funds, science and technology, talents and projects in rural areas, and speed up the development of modern agriculture.

The second part, this time, is that the document pay great attention to optimizing the allocation of agricultural resources and elements, proposing policies such as implementing large-scale agricultural water-saving projects, integrating and leveraging funding, and activating and exploiting unused homesteads. Simply put, these are about people, land and money. Lack of water is an outstanding chokepoint for China's agricultural development. Our farmland's effective irrigation coefficient is only 0.53, which is 0.2 points lower than many developed countries. Especially in north, northwest and northeast China, which are main food production regions, the situation of groundwater overuse is very serious. At the same time, the spatial and temporal distribution of water resource is very uneven. So, it is very necessary for us to carry out projects for water diversion, water transfer, and water storage. We will continue such projects in the future. But in the long-term perspective, and looking at China's national situation, to resolve its lack of water and the existence of various high water-consuming issues, the most urgent and effective way is water-saving. Therefore, the document stressed we should handle water-saving as a major point in terms of direction and strategy, and we must accelerate improving and facilitating the agricultural water-saving policies system.

Regarding fund usage, the document presents the concepts of integrating and leveraging. Currently the economic downturn pressure is large, and the financial resources increment is also difficult. So, it is not like before when we could offer large inputs freely in agriculture, farmers and rural areas. In the circumstances, regarding how to increase the government's investment into agriculture and rural areas, the document proposes a modest increase overall. "Integrating" is to overall plan and integrate the stock funds, and to concentrate on doing well the things that should be done. "Leveraging" is to use the fiscal and financial funds as an enhancing ingredient to leverage social and financial capital, in order to obtain more investment in construction of agriculture and rural areas.

As for the policy of land use, we also put forward some new regulations and requirements concerning utilizing idle lands reserved for rural homesteads and allowing villages to sort out saved land to develop rural leisure facilities and tourism businesses.

Thirdly, we believe it is very innovative that the 2017 "No. 1 central document" pays considerable attention to the main role of agriculture and the talents guarantee mechanism. It proposes that we need to develop the trinity of comprehensive cooperation actively and cultivate various rural talents and experts. We have been developing cooperatives for many years and the effect is very good. Our next important measure is to promote the coordinated cooperation in production, in supply and marketing, and in credit.

Besides, during the construction of the beautiful village project and development of rural tourism, I think journalists have found that rural design and rural construction are not standardized and not in accord with the characteristics of the rural landscape. This is because most rural buildings and facilities are designed by urban institutes based on an urban concept. Therefore, the 2017 "No. 1 central document" proposes that universities should design related majors and courses targeting rural planning and rural residential design with the aim of cultivating rural experts and various professionals. Thanks.

China Daily:

Nowadays, rural business startups have grown very fast and many rural people have returned from cities to their hometowns to start businesses. New industries and new types of business have flourished in rural areas. Does the 2017 "No. 1 central document" contain any specific policy to provide support for this? Thanks!

Tang Renjian:

It is a main direction and method for farmers to increase their incomes. We have paid great attention to this. Mr. Han Jun will introduce the situation in detail.

Han Jun:

As you said, many migrant workers, entrepreneurs, and even some college graduates have returned to rural areas to start businesses in recent years. Represented by leisure agriculture, rural tourism and rural e-commerce, these new industries and new types of business operations have grown rapidly. The 2017 "No. 1 central document" proposes that the new industries and new types of business in rural areas should be strengthened, and the industry and value chains in agriculture should be expanded. It also proposes that the government should encourage more migrant workers to return to rural areas to start their own businesses with the aim of facilitating the development of modern agriculture, new industries and new types of business. It also encourages talents to return to rural areas to make business innovations with the aim of bringing a modern scientific production mode and business mode to rural areas.

When it comes to returning rural areas to start business, and the development of new industries and new types of business, we should remember the huge influence brought about by the flourishing rural township enterprises on the development of the rural economy and society from the late 1970s to 1990s. Currently, we really need to cultivate a good environment to support those who return to rural areas to start business and make innovations, as well as boost the development of new industries and new types of business, just like once did in supporting the development of rural township enterprises.

The policies proposed in the 2017 "No. 1 central document" to support migrant workers to return to rural areas to start business and the development of new industries and new types of business are very good, especially those on land use, financial services and personnel training. For example, in the land use of new industries and new types of business in rural areas, it proposes that a guarantee mechanism for new construction land should be improved so that the specific proportion of new construction land can be used to support the development of new industries and new types of business in rural areas. For example, it proposes that the construction land saved from village renovation and the arrangement of land reserved for rural homesteads should be mainly used to develop rural leisure industries, tourism, pension industry, as well as their integration. It is also clearly stated that the saved construction land must not be used for real estate or private clubs. As for encouraging more talents to return rural areas to start business and make innovations, it proposes that preferential policies should be integrated and implemented in the aspects of market entry, tax, financial service, land use and power use. It encourages the establishment of pioneer parks, incubation bases, service platforms for innovators for those returning to start businesses. It also encourages the establishment of an open service window to provide one-stop service. Thanks.

CNR:

Just now Mr. Tang mentioned that the supply-side structural reform in agriculture is a new concept put forward according to the current situation of rural development. In fact, promoting the transformation of the mode of agricultural development and restructuring are what we have been working on. Can you specify the differences between the current reform and the previous one? Will there be any different measures? Thanks.

Tang Renjian:

The demand for agricultural structural adjustment has never been interrupted. The climax of the first round of agricultural restructuring can be traced back to as early as the mid-1980s when China put a stop to its system of state purchasing quotas for agricultural products. Since then, the relationship between supply and demand for agricultural products has greatly improved and China's grain output reached 500 million tons in the late 1990s. At that time, the central authorities made a very important evaluation, judging that the demand for grain and other important agricultural products are actually balanced with the supply, and are more than sufficient in the years of good harvests.

Given this context and the major changes in China's internal and external environment, such as the accession to the World Trade Organization in late 2001, the central authorities decided to start the strategic readjustment of the agricultural structure.

Rather than an inheritance of the previous adjustment, the current supply-side structural reform in agriculture focuses more on innovation and development. There are three major differences between the two:

First, in the past, the adjustment was mainly aimed at solving the insufficient supply of agricultural products. The focus of the current reform is on improving the quality, efficiency and competitiveness as well as on enhancing the ability of the sustainable development of agriculture, while enhancing the balance of supply and demand.

Second, in the past, the adjustment focused mainly on the structure of agricultural production, while now we pay more attention to promoting agricultural transformation and upgrading through product mix adjustment.

Third, in the past, the adjustments were mainly in the areas of agricultural productivity, while the recent reform places more emphasis on institutional reform and institutional innovation.

There are also a number of differences in terms of the arrangements for facilitating the supply-side structural reform in agriculture.

Vertically, from the industrial development perspective, the "No. 1 central document" supports agricultural production, but extends well beyond that to including pre-, middle- and post- links concerning it, especially the post-harvest processing, storage, transportation and marketing of agricultural products.

From the horizontal point of view, the document stressed that, in addition to meeting people's demand for quality agricultural products, efforts should be also made to promote people's demand for agricultural tourism, leisure, sports, etc. Thank you.

CCTV:

My question is for Mr. Tang. The "No. 1 central document" has clearly put forward the term "quality agriculture," with an emphasis on green development. Are there any specific measures concerning this aspect? Thank you.

Tang Renjian:

The question is very timely and very important, because food safety is a top concern for everyone. With a per capita income of US$8,000, China is currently on the way to transforming from a middle-income country to high-income one. It is also in a period when consumption is increasing fast after the settlement of the food and clothing problem.

In this period, quality, diversity and peculiarity are what Chinese people care most about in relation to agricultural products and food. Quality refers to food safety. Compared with other industries or other areas, green and safe are the most prominent and most important features of the latest supply-side structural reform in agriculture. If not dealt with properly, it may jeopardize the reform. That's why your question is so important.

It is necessary to emphasize the development of green agriculture and promote the green production mode. This consideration is not only out of a need to improve the quality of agricultural products, but also to ensure survival and development space for future generations. I think there is more urgent demand in the development of green agriculture through increasing the output of high-quality products than in other fields and industries. The agricultural industry indeed should take the lead in this regard. Specific measures involve the following four aspects.

First, the transformation of the agricultural development mode. The document this time conveys a strong message in this regard. It has obviously put the issues of quality products, food safety and green agricultural development in the forefront. It requires that agricultural and rural development be steered from resource-intensive to green, ecological and sustainable.

Second, the implementation of standardization of agricultural production: it means to improve the quality standard system in the whole process involving the agricultural production environment, production links, purchasing, storage and marketing, as far as possible to the standards and practices of developed countries. While accelerating the unification of domestic and international standards, we should strive to develop and protect China's national agricultural product brands.

Third, the promotion of a green production mode. This mainly involves strengthening environmental protection of the agricultural production areas and achieve zero growth in the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides. At the same time, we should implement good production practices, prevent and control environmental pollution, carry out water-saving projects, and attach great importance to the agricultural ecology.

Fourth, the improvement of the supervision system for the quality of agricultural products and food safety. Thank you.

Economic Daily:

My question is for Mr. Tang. Just now, you mentioned the current slowdown in fiscal revenue growth. However, agricultural and rural development needs a lot of investment. So, what further measures will the government take to continuously increase such investment? Thanks.

Tang Renjian:

During the "13th Five-Year Plan" (2016-2020) period, there is a great demand for construction and investment in the development of agriculture and rural areas. In the context of economic downturn and financial difficulties, how to raise funds for the development of agriculture and rural areas is indeed a big headache.

Relevant departments have estimated that a total of 3.4 trillion yuan will be needed alone in water supply, road construction, electricity and communications up to 2020. The transportation department says more than 340 billion yuan is needed for rural road maintenance. Even that figure does not take into account the initial construction fee, the amount is more than three times that in the "12th Five-Year Plan" (2011-2015) period. Here, I would like to tell you that the funds allocated account for a little more than one-third of our total demand.

The document this time requires that agriculture will be given top priority in financial expenditures to ensure a modest increase in investment in agriculture and rural areas. More importantly, we will make good use of the money so as to improve the effectiveness of funds.

One focus is "integration," in that we take an integrated approach to the funds in hand to deal with the most urgent matters. This year's "No. 1 central document" requires integrated reform of the special transfer payments in the process of budget drafting. In detail, it proposed the management approach should consist of "major special categories and task lists".

For "major special categories", each department is required to put their special funds into several major categories, and henceforth newly-allocated funds should follow suit. A "task list" is one that contains compulsory construction tasks along with some non-compulsory ones each year. For compulsory tasks, the funds must be earmarked; for non-compulsory tasks, local governments are delegated some powers to manage funds in an integrated way. In this way, we can motivate both the central and local governments.

As another focus, we will work on "leverage," in that we will use limited government resources to achieve leverage of much larger financial and social capital. This year's "No. 1 central document" has come up with many mechanisms and approaches covering seven categories: 1) the partnership between the government and social capital, also called the public and private partnership (PPP), with which you are quite familiar; 2) work for a reward, which means rewards will replace subsidies for decent work; 3) interest deduction in that the government will subsidize some of the loan interest; 4) setting up guarantee mechanisms; 5) setting up risk compensation funds; 6) setting up all sorts of investment funds for agricultural and rural development; 7) increase the scale of treasury bond issuance, particularly that of special bonds, to provide more support for the construction of agricultural and rural infrastructure.

If the above mentioned approaches can be used properly, we can greatly ease the aforementioned fund gap for rural construction during the "13th Five-Year Plan" period, and contribute to the advancement of supply-side structural reform.

I would also wish to remind you all that this year's "No. 1 central document" featured quite a lot of space on rural finance. It was the longest chapter compared with previous documents. Thanks!

China News Service:

Currently, Chinese peasants are paying close attention to reform of the system for purchasing and stockpiling corn. My questions are: What progress has been made so far? As to the future pricing mechanism for major agricultural products, what plan do we have? Thanks.

Tang Renjian:

The most important measure is to activate the market. Vice Premier Wang has called it the first tough battle. Han Jun has participated in research on this topic, so I'll ask him to answer your questions.

Han Jun:

Reform of the pricing mechanism for major agricultural products including grain as well as the system for their purchase and storage is a main highlight of deepening supply-side structural reform in agriculture. We should continue to lay equal stress on market orientation and the best interests of peasants, carry out various policies for different farm products, and promote reform gradually. In the past three years, we have introduced a range of measures and made some achievements in reform. For example, we abandoned the policy for the temporary purchase and storage of rapeseed, and carried out pilot reforms for guaranteeing base prices for cotton in Xinjiang, and for soybean in the three northeastern provinces and Inner Mongolia. According to the requirements of the "No. 1 central document," we will insist on improving the minimum purchase price policy on wheat and rice, which won't be changed in 2017.

Reform of the system for purchasing and stockpiling corn is the first tough battle of supply-side structural reform in agriculture. We have made the following breakthrough in reform. Firstly, we have activated the market. The corn market in northeastern provinces had been depressed in previous years. Last year, we transported a lot of grain from the north to the south, which put huge pressure on the railway system.

Secondly, we have enlivened the industrial chain. As the corn price fluctuates in line with market changes, price relations between the upstream and downstream sectors develop in an orderly way. During my research in the three northeastern provinces this year, I found that many corn processing enterprises had resumed work, and some of them had even enlarged their capacity.

Thirdly, we have improved competitiveness. Thanks to reform of the system for purchasing and stockpiling corn, the gap between the corn prices at home and abroad has become narrow. In January 2017, the domestic corn price was lower than the imported C.I.F dutiable price -- 50 yuan per ton, which means the price advantage of imported corn no longer exists. In 2016, the import of corn and its substitute goods fell 30 to 40 percent year-on-year.

Fourthly, we have promoted structural adjustment in agriculture. In previous years, many peasants preferred to plant corn instead of soybean because of high price. Recently, as the corn price returns to normal, the twisted agricultural resource allocation has gradually disappeared.

Fifthly, the fundamental interests of corn growers have been sustained. Market pricing and governmental grants are indispensable to the systematic reform of corn purchasing and storage. In accordance with the subsidy system, the central government has allocated 39 billion yuan (US$5.68 billion) in the three northeastern provinces and Inner Mongolia for dispensing among qualified farmers. The current market price and subsidies can ensure the farmers gain handsome rewards.

However, some farmers renting corn fields of massive size may find their operations becoming less profitable when considering the costs of labor and land lease prices. The land circulation in the northeastern region is at a level of 500 yuan for one mu (about 666 square meters), which can only bring in moderate, if not, negative returns. However, what we should note is that, the market, itself, will start to provide answers followed by the adjustment of governmental policies, so that leasing costs for transferred land usage starts to drop.

Changes in the purchase and storage system, market-oriented pricing and the separation of price and reimbursement are blazing a correct development path that suits actual conditions. We'll continue to make progress and keep vigilant to any risk signals. Thank you.

AgriGoods Herald:

There is a very important problem addressed by Mr. Tang concerning green mode of production, including, a pilot program of replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones. Which provinces or regions are expected to pilot the program? And what crops will they start with? In view of the wide range of organic fertilizers, what kind will be chosen to replace the chemical ones?

Tang Renjian:

The pilot program has been addressed for the first time in the latest "No.1 Central Document." The Ministry of Agriculture, as the relevant lead authority of the program, is deliberating on the details of the issue, including, where and with what species the experiment should be launched. Apparently, we'll start from fresh foods, such as the vast area of lands growing fruits and vegetables, and then move on to bulky commodities and field crops.

CRI:

We know China has been pushing forward pilot reforms of the rural land systems. This is an issue of much attention for people of various sectors. Does the "No. 1 central document" include new arrangements in this regard? Thank you.

Tang Renjian:

The central government has always been prudent in pursuing stability in carrying out reforms. One principle being championed is ensuring stability first and then striving for perfection. The land system is the lifeblood of farmers and provides them with the basic guarantee they need. This has never changed. At the rural work symposium at Xiaogang Village in Anhui on April 25, 2016, President Xi Jinping put forward an important point that we should not act rashly when it comes to dealing with the land of the farmers as it is a major historical issue that we must deal with patiently. I highly agree with him. Some people disapprove of the reform as lacking in major momentum and innovation, but I think we shouldn't give too much stress to momentum and seek innovation just for the sake of momentum and innovation unless we are sure that what we are promoting is right from a long-term and historical point of view.

Based on this consideration, we have always exercised prudence in carrying out reforms. However, since the land system, like any other system, has to change with the times, the "No.1 central document" this year has content designed to push forward reforms, including the following points.

Firstly, about the pilot reforms relating to rural land requisition, the marketization of rural collective land designated for business-related construction, and the system of land used for rural housing: since last year, the government has carried out pilot reforms in 33 counties. These will be continued and subject to an evaluation at the end of this year. Based on the evaluation and summarization that emerges, we will carry out amendments of the law. The "No. 1 central document" of 2017 requires the pilot programs to be carried out with an overall plan and in a coordinated manner.

Secondly, regarding how to ensure that farmers moving to work in urban areas may enjoy the rights of land contract and management, use of homestead and distribution of collective income, the "No. 1 central document" encourages the authorities to raise funds through multiple channels to compensate farmers who have registered as urban residents for voluntarily returning their contracted lands and homesteads.

Thirdly, in order to endow farmers with more homestead usufruct, we will make better use of idle housing and homesteads in an appropriate way. The "No. 1 central document" contains some new policies concerning the use of homesteads. It says that we should seriously summarize the experiences of pilot reforms of the system of land used for rural housing, and, based on the prerequisite of fully ensuring rural households' usufruct rights, and avoiding encroachment and control from external capital, we should ensure the collective ownership of homesteads, protect farmers' legal possession and use of their homesteads, explore ways to make better use of idle rural housing and homesteads including rural collective organizations leasing those lands or seeking cooperation, and increase farmers' property income. The document stipulates some requirements for steadily and prudently pushing forward rural homestead reform. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

That's all for today's press conference. Thank you, Mr. Tang and Mr. Han. Thanks everyone.

[责任编辑:郑成琼 ]
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