China will expand its rural land ownership reform to more counties in the next year in its latest effort to bolster agriculture and the rural economy.
A total of 300 counties will be covered in the pilot program, up from current 129, Vice Agricultural Minister Ye Zhenqin said Friday at a meeting in Tianchang in Central China's Anhui province, a major grain-producing region.
Ye said local governments can also promote the program to more places based on their own conditions. "The reform should be basically completed by the end of 2021," he said.
China initiated the reform in 2014 to grant farmers more rights to benefit from collective land in villages. The pilot program, as a significant link in the country's rural revitalization strategy, has been expanding.
During the past three years, progress has been made. Farmers started to own a share in collective assets and receive returns each year. The rural land ownership system was streamlined, and grassroots governance was improved.
The question of how to efficiently exploit rural land remains a pressing issue in the world's most populous country, where food security and the well-being of rural residents are high priorities.