As China encourages farmers to pool their land for better productivity, the country has gone on high alert for illegal seizures and speculation. The latest warning came from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who this week suggested that arable land should be protected “the way we protect pandas”. Most of China’s farmland is owned collectively by the people who work on it. As the rural workforce migrated to better paid jobs in the big cities, China began, in 2008, to allow farmers to rent out, transfer and merge the land they have contracted, amid a reform to bolster modern farming and reuse abandoned land…Full Article: Xinhua May 2015

Key Point

  • By June 2014, according to Deputy Director of the Development Research Center of State Council, China had transferred more than 250,000 sq. km of arable land. Transferred in this case means “land for land”. The farmland is transferred to entrepreneurs for commercial purposes. At the same time local governments are required to develop or restore new arable land that is equal in area of the land that was transferred.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In March 2015, China announced the launch of a pilot program that would permit the trade of rural land use rights for stakes in farming enterprises. In theory, farmers will be granted permission to give up these land rights for shares in farming enterprises. The pilot program was launched in three regions in Jiangsu, Sichuan and Guizhou, and in four counties in Heilongjiang, Shandong, Zhejiang and Chongqing Municipality.
  • In April 2014, China announced it would increase its subsidies to grain farmers (~CNY 14 billion or US$2.3 billion directly to grain growers) and expand its pilot land reform program (launched in March 2015) in Jiangsu and Jiangxi provinces.
  • In 2014, according to China’s Ministry of Finance, farm machinery subsidies topped CNY 23.6 billion (US$3.9 billion).
  • In December 2013, it was reported that China plans to initiate a farm land right program in two provinces in 2014, with hopes to expand the program to the entire country by 2015. The initiative began as a pilot program in 2008.
  • From 2012 to 2013, according to an industry insider, China’s agricultural subsidies were expected to increase from 160 billion yuan (US$25.7 billion) to 200 billion yuan (US$32 billion).
  • In 2008, China allows farmers to transfer/rent out their farmland.
  • In 1978, China began redistributing collectivized farmland to farmers under the newly established household contract responsibility system.

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