Beijing will look to boost farmers' income, protect their land rights and seek more equitable treatment for migrant workers in cities, reports from the annual rural work conference said yesterday.
Agriculture Minister Han Changfu told the two-day Central Rural Work Conference that the government would aim to narrow the gap between rural and urban residents by keeping the annual rate of income growth in the countryside at least 7.5 per cent, according to the People's Daily. He said urban policies should focus on fostering new sustainable agricultural business models to encourage young migrant workers to return home to farm, Xinhua reported.
Han highlighted a critical "lack of sustainable manpower" in the country's agriculture sector, with more than 60 per cent of young migrant workers saying they have no plans to return to farming, Caixin reported.
Supporting agricultural development would require maintaining stable land contract management while allowing the orderly transfer of farmers' land management rights, Han said, according to Xinhua.
The central government would also help expand support to include family farms and specialised co-operatives, he added.
Despite being one of the world's biggest agricultural producers, China increasingly needs to import food as demand for grain continues to outstrip supply, Han said, according to Caixin. He would not say how much food the country is importing.
The meeting's participants included academics, businessmen and regulators, and other agriculture sector officials. In addition to ensuring the country's grain supply, they said steps were needed to ensure farmers can profit during times of rising grain prices and production costs.
The government would also work to better balance urban and rural development, and ensure fair treatment for migrant workers in cities, participants said.