China mulls new law to strengthen black soil protection
Chinese lawmakers are considering a draft black soil conservation law that would stipulate constant government funding and targeted protection measures, as part of efforts to ensure the country's grain security.
The draft law was submitted for its third reading on Tuesday at an ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.
The black soil, or chernozem soil, found in China's northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning and in some parts of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, produces about one-quarter of the country's total grain output, making it crucial to China's food supply.
But years of excessive reclamation have eroded the soil's nutrients and its chernozem layer is thinning out, posing a threat to the country's ecological security and sustainable agricultural development.
Government investment in black soil protection should be ensured, along with comprehensive protection measures in engineering, agronomic techniques, farming machinery and biology, says the draft law.
The scope of the black soil protection area should be appropriately delimited and adjusted based on both its previous reclamation and current utilization, so as to better protect and restore the black soil in a systematic, phased and targeted manner, according to the draft.
It stipulates harsher punishment for those who cause soil erosion in black soil areas in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
Stressing the importance of state farms in black soil conservation, the draft calls on the farms to set a fine example in protection efforts and be subject to supervision and inspection.
Its first and second reading took place in December 2021 and April this year, respectively.