February 9, 2017
China's 2017 No. 1 Document focuses on agriculture anew
China released on Sunday, Feb. 5, its first policy statement of the year, which is, for the 15th year, focused on the agriculture sector.
The policy statement, widely referred to as the "No. 1 Central Document", aims to improve food safety, make supply chains more efficient and increase the amount of land used for food production, among others.
According to the document, it is imperative that national grain security be guaranteed during the reform process. Output dropped slightly in 2016, ending a 12-year rising streak. Still, last year's output was the second-highest on record.
The document—released by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council—acknowledges the consumers' rising pursuit for safer, more sustainable and higher-quality products, and that therefore, the agricultural reform should aim to provide safe and edible food, and there must be no increase in use of pesticides and fertilizers.
It says better quality control and more systematic production will ensure the safety of produce.
According to the document, a chain of innovation centers will be created, clean production that uses less water will be promoted, and polluted soil will be rehabilitated.
China should expand the land used for food production to 5.3 million hectares (13.1 million acres) by 2020, the document says.
It adds that migrant workers will be encouraged to return home and start their own businesses, while careers in agriculture will be made more attractive through professional training for farmers and managers.
There will be incentives for college graduates, entrepreneurs and students returning from overseas who would bring their technological and managerial skills to rural areas.
Also, according to the document, agricultural loans will be made easier to obtain.
As Tang Renjian, deputy director of the central rural work leading group, said, "China's countryside should be a fascinating place. Agriculture is an attractive sector and farming should be an admirable occupation".
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