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Measures Taken to Increase Arable Land

The Chinese government has taken measures to increase the arable land area as the country's farmland shrinkage threatens grain production.

The Ministry of Land and Resources initiated 497 programs in the fist half year to adjust its land structure and develop more farmland for grain production. 

The programs are expected to bring 930,000 mu (62,000 hectares) of new arable land to the country. The ministry did not detail the amount of investment and when the programs would be completed. 

From 2001 to 2005, the government launched 1,765 programs to develop 4.55 million mu (303,000 hectares) of new arable land and to improve productivity on existing cultivated areas. These are expected to bring a 21-percent rise in grain production.

China lost eight million hectares of farmland to urbanization and erosion over the past decade, and the area of cultivated land fell from 1.951 billion mu (130 million hectares) in 1996 to 1.83 billion mu (122 million hectares) last year. 

Per capita arable land dropped from 1.43 mu (0.095 hectares) in 2003 to 1.4 mu (0.093 hectares) in 2005. Experts predict the figure could continue to drop next year.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2006)

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