21 February 2021, China: Unveiled its “No 1 central document” for 2021 on Feb 21, stressing the efforts to comprehensively push forward rural vitalization and accelerate the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.
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 18 consecutive years since 2004.
During the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), the Communist Party of China will regard work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers as its top priority, said the document.
“China will make the comprehensive advancement of rural vitalization a major task in realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and will speed up the modernization of agriculture and the countryside with the efforts of the whole Party and society,” according to the document.
The document clearly lists the targets and tasks concerning agriculture and rural areas for 2021, as well as a broader vision for the period up to 2025.
This year, the country will keep its sown areas stable, with the grain output to exceed 650 billion kilograms, further improve the quality of agricultural products and food safety, and ensure that the growth of farmers’ incomes outpaces that of urban residents, said the document.
The country will also start implementing the plan on the modernization of agriculture and the countryside, and further promote reforms in rural areas.
By 2025, China will see substantial progress in the modernization of agriculture and the countryside, with achievements seen for a more solid agricultural foundation, a narrower income gap between rural and urban residents, and basically realizing agricultural modernization where conditions permit, said the document.
China will set a five-year transition period for counties that have shaken off poverty and gradually shift the policy focus from poverty alleviation toward comprehensively promoting rural vitalization.
The country will continue to consolidate poverty alleviation outcomes, promote rural vitalization in areas that have shaken off poverty, and strengthen assistance for low-income rural residents on a regular basis, said the document.
As for agricultural modernization, the document stresses the country’s ability to ensure the supply of grain and major agricultural products, including stabilizing the sown area of grain and improving the yield per unit area, accelerating the building of a modern breeding system, promoting green and healthy aquaculture, and optimizing the trade of agricultural products.
The protection, development and utilization of agricultural germplasm resources should be strengthened and the implementation of major scientific and technological projects in agricultural biological breeding should be accelerated.
The document emphasizes that the country must retain a “red line” of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land. The construction of 100 million mu of high-standard farmland with high and stable yields regardless of drought and flood will be complete this year.
Efforts should also be made to strengthen the support provided to modern agriculture by science, technology and equipment, to establish agricultural modernization demonstration zones, with the total number to reach about 500 by 2025, and to advance the green development of agriculture, according to the document.
China will vigorously implement an action plan for rural construction, setting targets for better rural public infrastructure and basic public services, stronger rural consumption, and faster integrated urban-rural development within counties, among others, according to the document.
The document also outlines measures to strengthen the Party’s overall leadership over the work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers.