Rural vitalization achievements in a bumper year

China overcame difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and kicked its agricultural and rural development into high gear in 2020.

China overcame difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and kicked its agricultural and rural development into high gear in 2020, rounding off the goals set by the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), Tang Renjian, minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said today.

Tang was speaking at a State Council Information Office press conference on the advancement of rural vitalization and acceleration of agricultural and rural modernization.

National grain output has remained above 650 million tons for six consecutive years, the contribution rate of science and technology agriculture edged up to over 60 percent and refined varieties were adopted in the production of nearly all the crops, said Tang, citing data from the “No. 1 central document” for 2021 released by the central government on Sunday.

The comprehensive mechanization rate of ploughing, sowing and harvesting reached 71 percent and the application of fertilizers and agrochemicals moved into negative growth for the fourth consecutive year.

A decisive victory was achieved in the fight against poverty, Tang noted. All impoverished people in rural areas have been lifted out of poverty and 832 registered poverty-stricken counties shook off poverty, eliminating absolute poverty and region-wide poverty.

The income of rural residents continued to grow rapidly. The income of farmers has grown faster than that of urban residents for 11 consecutive years. The urban-rural income gap narrowed from 2.64:1 in 2019 to 2.56:1 last year. The per capita income of farmers doubled the 2010 level one year ahead of schedule.

Tang said that living conditions in rural areas were appreciably improved, meanwhile, and the rough edges of infrastructure and public services were beefed up at a faster clip.

Food security

“For a big country like China, with a population of 1.4 billion, it’s an eternal theme to ensure food security,” Tang said.

Noting the national grain output reached a record of nearly 670 million tons in 2020, 5 million more than in 2019, Tang stressed “food supply in China is and will be always in a tight balance in the face of the growing population and the uncertain external environment.” To guarantee food security, Tang highlighted the importance of farmland protection and farming technology development.

“We will guard the red line of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land and ensure the 1.55 billion mu of farmland to mainly produce crops, vegetables and fruits,” Tang said.

 “We will fully protect and utilize rich black soil areas in northeastern China.”

Tang also emphasized the importance of developing modern agricultural technology.

Besides the quantity agricultural output, Tang said quality and diversity of crops, fruits and vegetables also need attention, because this could not only meet market demand, but also help increase farm income and improve efficiency.

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