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Supply-Side Structural Reform of Agriculture Requires Patience and Persistence



By Ye Xingqing, DRC


The Central Economic Work Conference proposed to enhance the supply-side structural reform of agriculture in 2017 and set the major tasks relating to supply, pricing, purchasing and storage, land and property rights. We need to have a clear understanding of China’s agricultural development at present stage and adopt a problem-oriented approach toward reform so as to highlight the work focuses of reform.

First, as for agricultural modernization, China has made remarkable progress in sci-tech contribution rate, mechanization rate, irrigated areas, fine seeds rate, and farmland use rights transfer. However, some deep-seated structural problems are still brewing, such as the weakening of international competitiveness, capabilities for sustainable development, supply-demand balance, and supporting power for income increase. Among all the problems, high costs have led to the increase of production, imports and inventory; agriculture is facing a serious overdraft of resources and environmental capacities; and there lacks an impetus for growth of farmers’ wages as well as for income from operation, subsidies and assets.

Second, we need to advance reform in the following six aspects. 1. We need to allow the correct market signals to play the decisive role and adhere to the principles of stressing both the advance of the market reform and the protection of farmers’ interests. 2. We need to guide the transformation of agricultural development model by changing agricultural subsidy policy. 3. We need to enhance agricultural labor productivity through promoting farmland use rights transfer. 4. We need to replace marginal capacity with growth of green capacity. 5. We need to extend and reframe the agricultural industrial chain and value chain. 6. We need to implement a comparative advantage strategy.

Third, the reform measures of land retirement and fertilizer reduction will decrease agricultural production, but we need to persist in implementing the set agricultural policies. The supply and demand of agricultural products might change, but we need to take saving energy and building an environmentally-friendly society always as our goal.


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