Via China Daily

Consumers buy vegetables at a supermarket in Handan, Hebei province. [Photo by Hao Qunying/For China Daily]

China will take stronger measures to ensure the supply of key farm produce and keep prices stable, the State Council’s executive meeting, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, decided on Wednesday.

Agricultural production has been broadly stable this year, and grain output is expected to remain above 650 billion kilograms for the fifth straight year, meeting participants were told.

The multiple steps introduced for swiftly restoring hog production are well underway, and good progress is being made with key agricultural products. That said, recent price hikes of some products in the “food basket”, which includes meat, aquatic products, eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables, have driven up overall prices and affected people’s daily lives.

“Another bumper harvest of grain production is well within reach this year, yet we must be clear-eyed about the challenges in agriculture,” Li said. “In particular, the relatively fast CPI rise deserves our close attention. We must see to it that the economy continues to develop within the appropriate range.”

Multipronged steps were urged at the meeting to restore hog production at a faster pace by removing unjustified farming bans. A bumper harvest of corn in North China will better help ensure supplies of feed for pig farming provinces in South China. Also sought was an increase in the production of poultry, beef and mutton as well as tapping into food reserves to ensure the supply of key farm produce and curb price spikes of certain products.

Local governments should activate the mechanism that links social assistance with price increases to meet basic livelihood needs of those experiencing hardships. There should be no slackening of effort in ensuring grain production to make sure that China has full self-sufficiency in grain supply.

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“Our crucial task now is to take a host of measures to ensure the supply of key farm produce and keep prices stable. This is vital in maintaining macroeconomic stability,” Li said.

The meeting also decided on steps to cultivate high-quality farmland to boost grain production capacity. The goal is to develop 67 million hectares of such farmland by 2022 with over 500 billion kg of production capacity.

“We are able to ensure overall self-sufficiency of grain supply and absolute food security,” Li said.

“The price subsidies for low-income people shall be activated nationwide to ensure their basic livelihood,” Li added.