The central government yesterday reaffirmed its policy of maintaining 120 million hectares of arable land to ensure the country's food security. This came despite calls from scholars for Beijing to revise the rigid policy, which they argued was unnecessary in the age of globalisation and had hindered industrialisation. The reaffirmation came at the central rural work conference, where Beijing ordered local governments to strictly adhere to the policy. '[We] must implement the most strict farmland protection measures to control the total size of land used for industrialisation and urbanisation. We must uphold the red line and not yield an inch,' a summary of the meeting carried by Xinhua said. The mainland is balancing industrialisation with maintaining enough farmland to feed its 1.3 billion people. Beijing last year set the goal of maintaining 120 million hectares as the basis of its food security policy. However, prominent economist Mao Yushi has attacked the policy. He said it was no longer relevant to link food security with farmland as China had sufficient supplies through balanced imports and exports.