Cadres were told yesterday to speed up policies adopted at the National People's Congress, including an urgent overhaul of the country's grain distribution system. The acceleration order was issued by the Secretary-General of the State Council, Wang Zhongyu, at a meeting in Beijing attended by more than 1,300 cadres. Decisions and goals set by the Congress - including an eight per cent economic growth rate, three per cent ceiling for inflation and a stable currency - have been emphasised by senior leaders on many occasions. Yesterday, Mr Wang highlighted the urgency of revamping the grain distribution system. After discussing other economic goals, such as state-owned enterprise reforms and government restructuring, he stressed the immediate need to establish a new system to store, distribute and sell grain. 'The present grain circulation system must be changed immediately. The conditions for reform are ripe and the state is drafting the reform proposal,' Xinhua quoted him as saying. The Government is paying a heavy price for the two consecutive years of bumper harvests because it had promised to buy all the grain that farmers grew at subsidised prices. More than two-thirds of the subsidies paid by the Government last year were used to support grain prices as the authorities feared any fall in prices would drive farmers from their land and destabilise the countryside. Zhu Rongji boasted in his first press conference as premier that China would not have any food shortage problem even if it suffered famine for two years.