23 February 2022, China: China unveiled its “No 1 central document” for 2022 on Feb 22, outlining key tasks to comprehensively push forward rural vitalization this year.
As the first policy statement released by China’s central authorities each year, the document is seen as an indicator of policy priorities. Work on agriculture and rural areas has been high on the agenda for 19 consecutive years since 2004.
The document called for efforts to stabilize and increase agricultural production, steadily raise farmers’ incomes, and ensure stability in China’s rural areas to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and other changes unseen in a century and promote sound economic and social development.
“We must firmly hold the bottom lines of guaranteeing China’s grain security and ensuring no large-scale return to poverty,” the document noted.
China will enhance grain production and the supply of vital agricultural products, it said.
Measures will be taken to ensure that the sown areas for grains remain stable and the full-year grain output stays above 650 billion kg.
Efforts will also enhance the production capacity of soybean and oil plants and ensure the supply of key products such as pork and vegetables, said the document.
The document detailed reasonable protection of farmers’ incomes from growing grains and coordinated regulation on major agricultural products.
In 2022, China aims to develop 6.67 million hectares of high-standard farmland, promote national projects on black soil protection, and launch the third nationwide soil condition census, noted the document.
It also specified measures to vigorously promote the research on vital agricultural core technologies such as germplasm, enhance applications of agriculture machinery and equipment, accelerate development of facility agriculture, and effectively prevent and respond to major agriculture-related disasters.
The document urged efforts to improve mechanisms for monitoring and assisting people at risk of falling back into poverty, and to ensure assistance and support policies are implemented in a timely manner.
More efforts should be made to help boost the incomes of populations that have recently been lifted out of poverty, according to the document.
China will increase support for key counties in rural vitalization and for communities of relocated people while working to promote the integrated development of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries in rural areas, it said.
Efforts should be made to develop county-level industries and commerce systems, as well as to encourage rural residents to obtain employment or start businesses locally, said the document.
In an interview with Xinhua, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Tang Renjian said the country should consolidate poverty-reduction achievements with steady economic growth, with more financial support tilted toward developing the technology, facilities and marketing of rural industries that help increase the incomes of rural households.
Tang listed farm-produce processing, rural tourism and rural e-commerce as three major industries for rural vitalization, and stressed the prevention of excessive financing, development and construction, so as to yield practical results.
The document also urged the continued implementation of the five-year action plan on improving the rural living environment, stressing solid work on enhancing rural infrastructure in key areas such as highways, water facilities, power grids and clean-energy facilities, as well as improving the quality of rural housing.
It called for greater efforts on developing digital villages by pushing for smart agriculture and empowering rural public services with digital technologies.
The document noted that measures should be taken to increase investment for rural vitalization, such as providing support from the public budget and the central government budget, and supporting the issuance of local-government bonds for qualified projects.
It also stressed optimizing financial services to advance rural vitalization. More support will be provided for qualified local financial institutions in terms of relending, rediscounts and required reserves.
More work will be done to strengthen the building of a rural credit system and facilitate credit lending for rural households, while agricultural insurance and reinsurance will be actively promoted, it said.
The document also proposed to improve the recruitment and training systems of talent for rural vitalization.