Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for supply-sidestructural reform and agricultural modernization, as legislators hailed thestrategy expected to benefit farmers by improving their production efficiencyand increasing the added-value of agriculture products.
"It is a tough battle to carry out the supply-sidestructural reform," said the president, whose suggestions stressincreasing high-and-mid-end supply and cutting non-effective and low-endsupply.
Xi made the remarks when joining a panel discussion on ruraldevelopment of the NPC deputies from Central China’s Hunan Province.
He also urged innovations in improving the livelihood of thepeople and optimizing policies on food security. He repeated that “a strongChina must be pillared by strong agriculture.” The supply-side structuralreform in agriculture is believed as an effective way to achieve the goal.
Also as a strategic priority in China’s 13th “Five Year Plan”,the supply-side structural reform has been a key agenda during this year’s twosessions.
Xi’s remarks were echoed by the NPC deputies. Wu Donglan, adeputy from a village in Hunan Province, applauded the president for hisproposals. He said that compared with the old days when farmers worked hard butgained little wealth, strategies like “Internet Plus” have accelerated therural development.
Recent years have witnessed a stable growth of farmers’ incomein China. As reported, per capita disposable income for China’s farmers hasincreased to 11,422 yuan ($1,750) in 2015. Its growth was 0.7 percent higherthan that of urban dwellers. At the same year, rural dwellers’ income fromwages outnumbered that from household business operation for the first time.
But as the macro-economy is facing more pressure, roadblocksstill lay ahead for rural China’s development. On the one hand, it is difficultfor the governments to raise grain prices at the moment; on the other hand, thenumber of migrant workers was no longer increasing as rapidly as it used to. In2015, the number of migrant workers saw an increase of 0.4 percent, the lowestsince the beginning of the 21st century.
As an effort to support further agricultural development, Chinahas set to improve the effectiveness of agricultural supply, optimize resourceallocation and improve output quality and efficiency.
“Supply-side structural reform in agriculture should focus moreon innovation and reforms. Technological innovation can bring about improved breedswhilst help reduce costs and improve efficiency,” said Chen Xiwen, deputydirector of the Central Rural Work Leading Group.
A scholar noted that a loofah is sold at three to four yuan, buthealthcare insoles made of it is worth 10 yuan. Other agricultural products andcash crops can also have higher added-value after downstream processing.
When talking with lawmakers on Tuesday, Xi also emphasized thatfor a country with over 1.3 billion people, food security has always been a toppriority concerning national economy and people's livelihood.
Agricultural infrastructure should be improved, he said, urgingmore efforts to protect arable land, support irrigation facility constructionand agricultural mechanization, as well as upgrade agricultural technology andequipment.