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Jilin to Play a Bigger Role as National Grain Producer

Jilin is expected to increase its annual grain output by 5 million tons in about five years and play an important role in the nation's grain safety strategy, Han Changfu, governor of Jilin Province, said at a recent news conference.

Jilin is one of the most important grain production bases in China. For many years, the provincial committee of the Communist Party of China and the provincial government have attached great importance to promoting agriculture development and strengthening grain production.

Jilin province proposed a plan for substantially increasing grain output early last year.

In early 2007, the provincial authorities reported to Premier Wen Jiabao, who was attending the Asian Winter Games, held in Jilin's capital of Changchun, the local government's proposal to increase grain output through launching a series of water conservancy projects.

Later the Jilin Provincial Development and Reform Commission conducted research on the possibility of improving grain output in the province.

In July 2007, the Jilin Provincial Development and Reform Commission proposed an overall capacity building plan to increase Jilin's annual grain output by 5 million tons in five years to the provincial government.

The proposal was also submitted to other related departments for further study.

In January 2008, the plan was submitted to the National Development and Reform Commission and was sent to the State Council in April.

On July 2, Premier Wen presided over a State Council executive meeting to discuss two important documents - the medium and long-term plan for national grain safety and Jilin's plan for grain output growth. The two plans were approved by the State Council on the same day.

On August 11, the provincial government announced it would implement the plan, with a number of related projects being launched.

Strategic significance

Han said the plan being approved by the State Council, along with a national grain safety plan, was an unprecedented event in Jilin's agricultural development, showing that Jilin is now playing an important role in the State's agricultural development.

According to the national grain safety plan, China's annual grain output is targeted to increase by 40 million tons and reach 540 million tons in 2020.

Jilin's annual grain output is projected to increase from the present 25 million tons to 30 million tons, indicating Jilin will contribute more than one-eighth of the nation's grain output growth.

The State Council also values Jilin's grain output growth plan, with the executive meeting agreeing that the plan is of "strategic significance" to national grain safety.

Attendees at the meeting also said they fully recognized Jilin's potential for grain output growth and suggested the province develop a well structured grain production system and strike a balance between agricultural development and environmental protection.

The State Council also promised to give more support to Jilin in regard to fund raising.

Governor Han said the local authorities are confident about implementation of the plan, citing various favorable conditions.

Great potential

Jilin's natural environment is one of the best in China for growing grain crops. It has fertile black soil throughout the province. As the source of many large rivers in northeast China, water resources are also abundant in the province.

Another advantage is that the per capita farmland area is comparatively larger than that in other regions in the country. In addition, the province has a great number of medium and low-output farmlands, which can provide higher yields after improvements.

Since the nation implemented reform and opening-up strategies three decades ago, Jilin has witnessed steady growth in grain production, with annual output increasing from 15 million tons 30 years ago to 25 million tons at present, according to Han.

However, the governor said, there are still some factors bottlenecking the province's agricultural development, especially grain production.

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