China's top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), released the country's first mid- and long-term grain security plan on Thursday.
The plan targets grain production of at least 500 billion kg in 2010 and more than 540 billion kg in 2020. Output was 501.6 billion kg last year.
The plan called for ensuring at least 105.3 million hectares of land under grain cultivation and a grain self-sufficiency rate above 95 percent over the next 12 years.
The cultivated area last year was 105.7 million ha, up 6.4 million ha from 2003, and the self-sufficiency rate was 98 percent.
The rise in grain area came after China scrapped agriculture taxes, raised subsidies and introduced minimum grain purchase prices to stimulate production.
China, with a population of 1.3 billion, faces with severe challenges in safeguarding grain security due to rising living standards, decreasing arable land, water shortages and climate change, according to Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy director of the NDRC.
The government will work to ensure that there is at least 120 million ha of arable land, compared with 121.7 million ha last year, according to the plan. However, there is limited room to increase arable land because of industrialization and urbanization, the plan said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 13, 2008)