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Senior Official Stresses Importance of Agricultural Production

Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said on Thursday that agricultural production and effective rural administration this year were extremely important to maintain economic and social development.

During a field inspection in the agricultural province of Hebei, which neighbors Beijing, Hui said it would be an arduous job to reap grain harvests this year, although the country had almost finished bringing in bumper crops of summer grain.

"We should not be careless, even though we had the fifth year in a row of increasing summer grain harvests. Now, the agricultural sector is facing a critical moment of summer planting and field management, which calls for unremittingly hard work," Hui said.

"Unswervingly, we should ensure smooth agricultural production and the implementation of policies and measures to benefit farmers nationwide."

"Unswervingly, we should ensure steady growth of agricultural production and farm incomes and ensure the sufficient supply of agricultural produce," he stressed.

Hui said agricultural development and grain harvests were extremely important for China to ensure national food security and halt the rapid increase of prices, with grain prices soaring on international markets.

"By doing so, we desire to maintain quality and the fast growth of the economy and lay a solid basis for the successes of earthquake relief and post-quake reconstruction and the Beijing hosting of the Olympic Games," said the vice premier.

The massive earthquake in Sichuan Province on May 12, combined with ongoing flooding in southern China triggered by heavy rains, had caused serious problems for agricultural production in these regions, he said.

It was expected that typhoons, flooding and drought in the remainder of the year would mean more difficulties for agricultural and grain harvests, according to Hui.

In addition, he said, prices of farm inputs, such as fertilizer, had remained high, which certainly added to the difficulty of reaping grain harvests throughout the year.

(Xinhua News Agency June 20, 2008)

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