We have launched E-mail Alert service,subscribers can receive the latest catalogues free of charge

You Are Here: Home > Publications> Articles

Changes of Farmland Ownership and Operation Mode in China



By Liu Shouying, DRC

Based on the farmland ownership structure after China’s rural land reform, farmland ownership is now protected by Land Contract Law and Property Law. When it comes to operation, farmland ownership changes exhibit the following features. First, the entity of collective land ownership has changed, leading to the transfer of land ownership to upper-level collective body. With the swift advance of industrialization and urbanization, more and more traditional rural labor force and farmers are leaving their native villages. Due to village merging, the entity of collective land ownership has changed. Second, membership-based collective ownership has become reinforced. In 1998, the central government implemented the policy of “extending the land contract period by 30 years”.About 62% of the interviewed farmers disapproved of farmland immobilization within 30 years. The proportion went higher in more traditional agricultural areas. From 2001-2010, the research group conducted five field surveys in 17 provinces. The results show that the number of farmers supporting the policy of “unchanged land acreage irrespective of changes in household size” droppedfrom 42% to 38.2%. Thenumber of farmers opposing this policy dropped from 42% to 28.6%. The number of farmers holding a neutral attitude rose from 15.9% to 33.2%. Third, contracted management right of farmland is losing and less guaranteed. Because of rapid structural changes and relevant policies, the number of farmerslosing contracted management right of farmland is increasing. This is caused by land acquisitions. The policy of “unchanged land acreage irrespective of changes in household size” hasled to the increase of landless farmers. In addition, the contracting right and management right of landless farmers resulting from extra births and floating population isseparated.Fourth, the confirmation of land rights and its implementation. By February 2015, 1988 counties had implemented the policy of confirmation of contracted rural land-use right, making up 2/3 of the total 2856 counties around the country. This involves 13,000 townships, 195,000 villages and 330 million mu contracted land (15 mu make one hectare). During the evolution of farmland ownership, rural land circulation got acceleratedwith some new characteristics. First, characteristics of land circulation include: land circulation became apparently faster; subcontracting and leasing were still the main forms of circulation; the proportion of grain crop-growing land wasbasically stable but variedwidely among different regions; contract signing rate was increasing. Second, farmers’ operation scale had changed. With the swift land circulation, farmers’ operation scale also increased. By the end of 2013, there were 226 million farmerswith less than 10 mu land for cultivation, taking up 85.96% of all family contractors. Third, operating entity had changed. As for circulating land, farmerswere still the main body receiving land transfer but operating entity had become more diversified. In view of the overall land management, an apparent feature was that more specialized cooperatives and enterprises had appeared, replacing the individual household farming. And fourth, there were problems in land circulation and scale management. Land circulation was not standard; some lands were not used to grow crops after circulation; larger operating scales did not always lead to better outcome.


For more detailed information, please refer to here.