Farmers get harvest of policies for modern era

Updated 2017-12-19 11:00:18 China Daily

Various incentives will help with the development of agriculture

While agriculture has always been a key part of China's economy, farmers now have more policy incentives to develop agricultural businesses and improve their lives.

The most recent executive meeting of the State Council, China's Cabinet, announced a series of new incentives for the development of new business entities in agriculture. The meeting was chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Dec 13.

It was decided that projects will be launched to support diverse business entities that integrate different industries and link them to the Internet Plus strategy.

Training plans will be drawn up to cultivate new types of professional farmers to spur entrepreneurship and innovation in rural areas to lift more people out of poverty, and the government also promised preferential financial incentives, as well as tax, land and power-use policies to encourage businesses to process agricultural products, the statement said.

Pushing forward with structural adjustment in agriculture through efforts including developing farm-based recreation, extending industry chains and value chains, and stepping up the integrated development of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries in rural areas, were among the set of tasks for 2017 in Premier Li's Government Work Report delivered this March.

"Rural residents are still the majority of our country's population in general. Agriculture and lives in rural areas are still the most important part of our work," Li stressed at the Dec 13 meeting.

He said modern business entities have played an effective and positive role in improving agricultural efficiency and increasing farmers' incomes.

On Dec 15, two days after the State Council meeting, the Ministry of Agriculture announced it would enhance fiscal support for new agriculture business and plans to train more than 1 million farmers in developing new agriculture businesses.

Ye Zhenqin, vice-minister of agriculture, pointed out in a news briefing on the upcoming incentives that new agriculture businesses face more limits in development compared to other traditional business entities in other industries.

"Inadequate risk protection for new business in agriculture, outdated facilities, as well as the supply and demand gap in financing are three major problems facing new agriculture businesses," Ye said.

He said the ministry will enhance its policy support to new agriculture businesses in agriculture related financing, insurance, as well as building agriculture parks.

"The high cost of financing is still a key difficulty facing farmers in developing agriculture business," Ye said.

He noted that the ministry will work to explore innovative financial products and services as well as taxation to improve the agriculture credit guarantee system to help new agriculture business entities.

Increasing the business and production of small-sized farmers' businesses is of vital importance in developing new agriculture businesses, Ye said, encouraging a mechanism platform to synergize new agriculture business' profits for small farmers.

Figures from the ministry recorded that new businesses in the agricultural sector have seen robust development in recent years.

By the end of 2016, there were a total of 44,500 households of family farms, and 1.79 million agriculture cooperatives.

The result of the third national agricultural census, shows that China's grain productivity has improved.

A large variety of agricultural business entities have emerged, while agricultural facilities have greatly developed and rural people's livelihood has seen positive improvements.

Figures from the third census, released by the National Bureau of Statistics, show that the number of China's villages and towns has declined by 8.1 percent over the past decade, and by the end of 2016, 99.5 percent of rural households had their own property. Infrastructure in rural areas, such as water, electricity, road and housing, has improved remarkably. The census is held every 10 years.

Li emphasized at the Wednesday meeting that all related ministries should study these figures, and make necessary policy adjustments to the agriculture industry, adding that figures from the census have provided vitally important basic data to China's social and economic development.

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