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SCIO briefing on the development of agriculture and rural areas in 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020)

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The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on Oct. 27 to brief on the development of agriculture and rural areas during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

China.org.cnUpdated: October 29, 2020

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Speakers:

Liu Huanxin, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs

Wu Hongyao, member of the Leading Party Members' Group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

Wei Baigang, chief economist of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs

Chairperson:

Shou Xiaoli, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office

Date:

Oct. 27, 2020


Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to the State Council Information Office (SCIO) press conference. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), major progress has been made in the development of agriculture and rural areas. All the related tasks and targets set out in the plan have been accomplished. Today, we are pleased to be joined by Mr. Liu Huanxin, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs; Mr. Wu Hongyao, member of the Leading Party Members' Group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs; and Mr. Wei Baigang, chief economist of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. They will brief you on the achievements made in the development of agriculture and rural areas during the 13th Five-Year Plan period and answer your questions.

First of all, I invite Mr. Liu to make an opening statement.

Liu Huanxin:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. I'm very delighted to meet you here. I would like to thank you for your long-term concern and support for the work related to agriculture, rural areas, and farmers.

This year is the final year for the completion of the 13th Five-Year Plan. Departments of agriculture and rural affairs at all levels have been fully implementing the guiding principles of General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions, putting into practice the decisions and plans of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council, and focusing on ensuring stability on the six fronts and security in the six areas. We've effectively responded to risks and challenges, including the COVID-19 epidemic, severe flooding, and serious crop diseases and pests . The development of agriculture and rural areas has maintained a stable and strong momentum. Grain output is expected to reach a new record. The recovery of hog production is better than expected. There are adequate supplies of non-grain food and the gap between urban and rural incomes has narrowed.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has placed addressing issues relating to agriculture, rural areas, and the wellbeing of farmers at the top of the work agenda of the CPC, given priority to agriculture and rural areas, and mapped out the important strategy for rural revitalization. Historic achievements and changes have been made in agriculture and rural areas. Related tasks and targets set in the 13th Five-Year Plan have been accomplished. All this has offered strong support for winning the battle of poverty elimination and completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects as scheduled. It has also helped seize the strategic initiative in maintaining overall stability in economic and social development, as well as tackling risks and challenges at home and abroad.

First, we have greater control over the food supply for 1.4 billion Chinese people. We have continued to increase food crop production based on farmland management and the application of technology. We have completed the task of developing 53.36 million hectares of high-standard cropland that produces good yields in times of drought or excessive rain. We have established 72.53 million hectares of functional zones for grain production and protected areas for the production of major agricultural products. Grain output has exceeded 650 billion kilograms for six consecutive years, bringing the production capacity to new heights. The self-sufficiency ratio of rice and wheat has been maintained above 100%, and that of corn above 95%. There are diverse and adequate supplies of meat, eggs, milk, fruit, vegetables, and tea, meeting the increasing consumption demands of the people.

Second, agricultural modernization has reached a new level. The contribution of advances in agricultural science and technology to agricultural production has exceeded 60%. The overall level of mechanization in plowing, sowing, and harvesting exceeded 70%. All farmland used for planting major crops nationwide has been sown with superior strains of crop. There are now more than 1 million family farms, 2.23 million farmers' cooperatives, and 893,000 commercial organizations that provide agricultural services. These organizations have become the mainstay of modern agriculture, better aligning smallholder farming and the development of modern agriculture. The use of fertilizer and pesticides has registered negative growth for the three years in a row. The acceptance rate of agricultural products under quality monitoring has been maintained above 97%. Putting quality first and adhering to green development have become dominant themes in modern agriculture.

Third, the target of doubling farmers' income has been achieved ahead of schedule. In 2019, the per capita disposable income of rural residents exceeded 16,000 yuan, doubling 2010's figure one year ahead of schedule, and marking a growth rate faster than that of urban residents for the 10th year in a row. The gap between urban and rural incomes has also narrowed, falling from 2.73:1 in 2015 to 2.64:1 in 2019. In the first three quarters of this year, the per capita disposable income of rural residents grew by 1.6% in real terms to 12,297 yuan. The growth rate will continue to rise in the fourth quarter. In the year for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, farmers will have a stronger sense of gain and happiness.

Fourth, decisive achievements have been made in the fight against poverty. By the end of this year, all of China's poor as defined by the current standards will be lifted out of poverty, all 832 impoverished counties will be removed from the poverty list, and the overall regional poverty problem will be resolved. The poverty alleviation policies with an aim of supporting local industries cover 98% of poverty-stricken households. In poverty-stricken areas, more than 1 million poverty alleviation projects that support local industries have been implemented and more than 300,000 poverty alleviation industrial bases have been built. Each poverty-stricken county has formed a leading industry with distinctive characteristics and the capacity to erase poverty. Poverty alleviation through supporting local industries has become the measure with the widest coverage, mobilizing the largest number of people and having the most effective results.

Fifth, rural revitalization has achieved a good start. The rural revitalization strategic plan was issued and implemented, the CPC's rural work regulations were promulgated and implemented, and the rural revitalization institutional framework has mostly taken shape. The penetration rate of rural sanitary toilets has exceeded 65%, while the coverage rate of the collection, transportation, and disposal system for domestic waste in administrative villages has exceeded 90%. Meanwhile, the three-year action objectives and tasks for the improvement of rural human settlements have been largely completed. Additionally, the construction of infrastructure such as rural water, electricity, road and communications facilities has been accelerated, the level of public services such as education, medical care, and elderly care has been continuously improved, the rural governance system has been further improved, and the rural areas are now taking on a new look.

Sixth, rural reforms continue to deepen. The basic rural management system has been further consolidated and improved and more than 200 million rural households have received certificates of land contract management rights. After the second round of land contracts expired, a new land contract policy which allows the validity period be extended for another 30 years upon expiration was promulgated. Elsewhere, significant progress was made in the "three-rights separation" system for separating ownership rights, contract rights, and management rights for contracted rural land. A new round of rural homestead reform pilot projects was also launched. The asset and capital verification of rural collective assets have for the most part been completed and the identities of more than 600 million collective members has been confirmed. The supporting and protection system and institutions for agriculture have been gradually improved and an ecological-oriented agricultural subsidy system has been established. Policy to adjust and improve the use of land transfer income with a priority to supporting rural revitalization has been issued. The main framework of rural reform is now basically in place.

These achievements are the result of the overall arrangement and strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, the result of hard work and unremitting efforts by hundreds of millions of farmers and officials, and the result of continuous improvement and persistent reinforcement of policies to strengthen agriculture, benefit farmers, and raise rural living standards.

During the 14th Five-Year Plan period, we will firmly establish a new development concept, implement demands for high-quality development and new development patterns, adhere to the general guideline of prioritizing agricultural and rural development via the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy. We shall also steadily improve the security level of important agricultural products such as grain, strive to improve the quality, efficiency, and competitiveness of agriculture, focus on strengthening the construction of beautiful and livable villages, consolidate and improve the results of poverty alleviation, continue to deepen rural reforms, and improve the rural governance system to accelerate the modernization of agriculture and rural areas.

Next, my colleagues and I will answer your questions.

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