China will form a new ministry to push forward the development of the agricultural sector and rural areas, if a reform plan submitted to the national legislature for deliberation on Tuesday is approved.
The new ministry was envisioned as a body to study and implement strategies, plans and policies related to agriculture, rural areas and rural people, according to the institutional restructuring plan, submitted by the State Council.[Special coverage]
It would also regulate crops, husbandry, fisheries, agricultural mechanization and the quality of farm products.
The proposed ministry merges the duties of the Ministry of Agriculture and several others agencies, including the duty for supervision of agricultural investment programs under the National Development and Reform Commission, supervision of farmland restoration projects under the Ministry of Land and Resources, and supervision of agricultural water under the Ministry of Water Resources.
The Ministry of Agriculture will be dismantled, and a State-level grain and reserves administration will be set up, the plan said.
Its responsibility would include the stockpiling, rotation and management of the nation's strategic and emergency aid materials, including grain, cotton and sugar.
The new administration merges the duties of the State Administration of Grain with areas related to grain and other materials of strategic importance currently under other ministry-level agencies, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce.
The State Administration of Grain is to be dismantled under the plan.
Xie Xuezhi, chairman of Agricultural Development Bank of China, said the institutional restructuring being proposed would streamline the government and improve its efficiency.
"The new ministry will have more duties than the current Ministry of Agriculture, which will make it more effective in promoting the rural revitalization strategy," he said.
Liu Muhua, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and vice-president of Jiangxi Agricultural University in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, said the restructuring will solve long-standing problems hindering agricultural and rural development.
"The duty to supervise programs involving agriculture and rural areas are spread among different ministries, which has resulted in low efficiency in utilization of capital and incompatibility between different programs in some cases. That has caused complaints for many years," he said. "The reform will integrate all the duties and improve efficiency for better results."