Country identifies strategies for 2016-2020 period.
BEIJING, CHINA — Describing agriculture as “the foundation on which we can finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieve modernization,” the government of China recently released more details of its “13th Five-Year Plan For Economic and Social Development of The People’s Republic of China (2016-2020).”

In its
report, which was translated by the Compilation and Translation Bureau, Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and published on Dec. 7, the Chinese government said the agricultural growth model “must be transformed at a faster pace, industrial, production, and business operation systems that work for modern agriculture must be established, and the quality, returns, and competitiveness of agriculture must be strengthened to allow China to embark on a path of agricultural modernization that ensures high yields and safe products, conserves resources, and is environmentally friendly.”

One area of concern moving forward is strengthening capacity in order to ensure the safety of agricultural products. To that end, the government identified several steps it will take, including making sure to achieve basic self-sufficiency in cereal grains and absolute food security.

“We will establish grain crop production functional zones and protected areas for the production of major agricultural products to ensure that the acreage of land devoted to growing grain crops such as rice and wheat remains basically stable,” the government noted in the report. “We will improve the mechanism for subsidizing major grain crop production areas. We will intensify efforts to realize green, high-yield, and efficient grain crop production.”

Additionally, plans are in place to make agricultural structural adjustments and improvements.

“We will promote the coordination of food, cash, and fodder crop production, step up integrated development of the farming, forestry, livestock, and fishing industries, and integrate planting, breeding, and processing,” the report said. “We will actively guide adjustments to the production mix of agricultural products and support superior producing areas in developing production centers for cotton, oilseed, sugar crops, soybeans, forestry seedlings, and fruit.”

Another area of focus will revolve around improving quality and safety.

“We will move faster to improve agricultural standards and ensure they are met in all agricultural production,” the government noted in the report. “We will strengthen quality and safety oversight over agricultural products and inputs, strengthen safety management at production sites, implement a certification system for product oversight both before products leave production sites and on entrance into markets, and establish interconnected, shared agricultural product quality and safety information platforms allowing for full traceability at every stage, thereby forming a stronger quality and safety oversight system that covers the entire journey of agricultural products from farm to table.”

International cooperation in agriculture also was discussed in the report, and China expects to play a more prominent role in improving mechanisms for regulating trade in agricultural products, the government said.

“We will actively pursue agricultural cooperation and development overseas, establish large-scale offshore centers for farm product production, processing, storage, and transportation, and cultivate internationally competitive multinational agricultural companies,” the report said. “We will broaden the areas of international agricultural cooperation and support bilateral and multilateral cooperation in agricultural technology.”

“We will actively guide adjustments to the production mix of agricultural products and support superior producing areas in developing production centers for cotton, oilseed, sugar crops, soybeans, forestry seedlings, and fruit,” the Chinese government said.
Another section of the report was devoted to the Chinese government’s plans to establish a modern agricultural operations system. The government said it sees a need for appropriately scaled agricultural operations as well as the need for new types of agribusiness.

“We will make policies more conducive to the growth of new types of agribusiness, support the development of large family farming businesses and family farms, guide and promote the well-regulated development of farmers’ cooperatives, support the growth of enterprises that are leaders in agricultural industrialization, cultivate a new type of professional farmer, and nurture competent modern agricultural operators,” the report said. “We will encourage and support industrial and commercial capital investment in modern agriculture and promote the development of agricultural-commercial alliances and other emerging business models.”

China also has its sights set on improving technology and equipment, and hopes to increase information technology application in agriculture. Specifically, the report indicated that China plans to strengthen innovation in agricultural science and technology and accelerate work on developing bio-breeding, agricultural machinery and equipment, and eco-friendly methods for increasing production.

“We will promote the use of high-yield, high-quality crop breeds suited to mechanized agriculture as well as standardized and localized models of high-yield and high-performance cultivation, and we will improve the conditions for making innovations in major agricultural laboratories,” the report said. “We will develop the modern seed industry, tackle key scientific and technological issues to make progress in the development of superior seed varieties, implement a new action plan for upgrading crop varieties, develop national seed breeding and production centers, and help the growth of leading seed enterprises using integrated cultivation breeding-promotion operations. We will promote complete mechanization of the production process of major crops as well as the integration of agricultural machinery and methods. We will improve and invigorate networks for the promotion of agricultural technology at the community level.”

Ramping up its technology efforts also means China plans to promote the use of “big data” in agriculture, the report noted.

“We will encourage internet enterprises to establish agricultural service platforms that bring together the processes of production and marketing, and accelerate the development of agriculture-related ecommerce,” the report said.

Overall, China said it plans to improve systems for providing support and protection for agriculture. In order to increase its investment in agriculture, the government said it plans to improve its spending mix, create new ways of investing and operating government funds, and promote the integration of investment projects.

“The subsidies for food crop production, for promoting superior grain crop varieties, and for supporting the purchase of agricultural supplies will be combined into a single agricultural support and protection subsidy,” the report noted. “We will improve subsidy policies for the purchase of agricultural machinery and tools, and give priority to grain crop producers, new types of agribusinesses, and major agricultural production areas in the allocation of these subsidies. We will establish a system of protection and compensation for arable land.”