China plans to secure over 1.67 billion mu (111.27 million hectares) of land for grain farming this year, a senior official said Sunday. Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu said at a work conference that the country will put forth every effort to ensure that the grain-growing acreage for the spring planting season stays at over 920 million mu.

Different regions will take advantage of their respective agricultural features to increase the acreage of high-yield crops, Han said. He urged agricultural departments at all levels to increase subsidies for farmers and work to reduce losses from unfavorable factors that may affect grain output like weather-related disasters.

A spring drought is likely to impact most of the country due to a lack of rainfall and fast temperature rises, according to weather authorities. Meanwhile, the ministry has encouraged an earlier start to planting this year, as well as the full use of young laborers who are still at home for the Spring Festival holiday, Han said. The ministry will send 27 teams of agricultural experts to rural areas to help local farmers manage their spring planting work and guarantee that policies are carried out well, Han said.

The Chinese government regularly trains a spotlight on the country’s agricultural sector. It singled out raising farming subsidies and grain output as the focus of this year’s first official government document. China’s grain output rose 3.2% year on year to a record high of 590 million tons in 2012, marking the ninth consecutive year of growth.

Source: China Daily Feb 2013

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