BEIJING, CHINA — China is putting greater emphasis on food security and encouraging all provinces to improve grain yields, according to a major policy document issued on Feb. 21, Reuters reported.

The rural policy blueprint known as the “No. 1 document,” also calls for increased support for its domestic seed industry.

China has increased its focus on food security since the pandemic hit major food exporting nations and raised concerns about food supply stability, Reuters said.

“The uncertainty and instability of the external situation has increased significantly,” Tang Renjian, agriculture minister, told a media briefing. “On grain security, we must not take it lightly for one moment.”

The nation will build a national food security industry belt that aims to connect all of the country’s key grain areas.

For the seed sector, the document urged faster implementation of major scientific projects in breeding and stronger protection of intellectual property rights.

“It is necessary to select a group of superior enterprises to give priority support,” Zhang Taolin, vice agriculture minister, said at the briefing.

China said it also will stabilize production of soybeans and develop edible oilseed crops, while diversifying its imports of agricultural products.

It also called for the building of a modern animal farming system.