BEIJING has cracked its whip over provincial governments, ordering them to tighten spending and pay extra attention to the farming sector. The belt-tightening measures are the latest efforts by the capital to fight off persistent double-digit inflation and re-channel investment into agriculture. The measures include a freeze on bonuses and subsidies, strict supervision of tax collection, a cap on capital spending and the vetting of land contracts. Reporting these measures, the Hong Kong China News Agency said they had been implemented after a telephone conference called by Beijing on next year's financial situation. The agency said Shandong had already stopped issuing wages or bonuses which were above government-approved limits. In Hebei province, the Government had taken similar measures to 'clean up' unauthorised expenses. According to the agency, Beijing has put a freeze on all capital projects for next year and only those projects which have already been approved will be allowed to go ahead. Likewise in Guangdong, banks have been told to cut any loans for land-development projects which have not been approved by provincial planning and economic commissions. In Inner Mongolia, the Government has warned cadres to keep a strict record of the use of public funds. In northeast Liaoning province, the Government has cancelled all 'unnecessary festivities'. Meanwhile, premier Li Peng has warned that because of China's huge population, farming would always be of utmost importance to the country's development. In his three-day tour of Hunan last week, the premier said China needed to increase its grain output. He warned officials to follow Beijing's orders in pursuing 'sustained, fast and healthy' growth. He also reiterated the economic targets set at the National Economic Work Conference and called for greater efforts to lower inflation and reform state enterprises. The same message of cautious growth was carried by the Communist Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, which warned cadres that a blind pursuit of a fast growth rate was dangerous. The commentary warned cadres they should not blindly sink funds into capital projects to boost the growth rate. Instead, it called for a conservative approach and urged cadres to 'develop new technology, practise conservation and lower consumption'.