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Innovation key to ‘supply-side structural reform in agriculture’

“China will deepen institutional reform and mechanism innovation to drive agricultural modernization and rural development,” stressed an official in charge of rural work at a press conference in Beijing on Feb 6, a day after the release of the “No. 1 central document” this year, which focuses on “supply-side structural reform in agriculture”.

Focus shifts from quantity to quality

The core idea of supply-side reform in China’s agricultural sector is to increase the output of high-quality products based on green and innovative production, according to a Xinhua report.

“We must accelerate scientific and technological progress in agriculture and improve comprehensive competitiveness,” said Tang Renjian, deputy head of China’s Central Rural Work Leading Group, while at a press conference of the State Council Information Office. “We need to deepen institutional reform and mechanism innovation, in order to drive rural development.”

Tang put the emphasis on increasing the income of farmers and ensuring effective supply by reform. “We will change from relying on resource consumption as in the past, and promote green and sustainable development and focus more on quality over quantity in the future,” he said.

The “No. 1 central document” is the name traditionally given to the first policy statement released by the central authorities of the year, and is seen as an indicator of policy priorities. This is the 14th year in a row that the “No. 1 central document” has been devoted to agriculture, farmers, and rural areas.

The document calls for improving structures in the industry, boosting innovation, cultivating new growth engines, promoting “green” production, extending the sector’s industrial and value chain, consolidating shared rural development, and enhancing rural reform.

For better farm produce, a group of innovation centers and alliances will be created, and outstanding research will be enhanced, according to the document.

More innovation for agricultural modernization

In an earlier interview with Xinhua, Tang stressed that efforts should be made on institutional reform and mechanism innovation to resolve many new problems faced by China’s agricultural industry, such as the gap between supply and demand of agricultural products, insufficient development in green production, low competitiveness of domestic products, and the lack of new growth engines.

“We will incubate new industries, new formats, and new models in rural areas. We will push to integrate the industries of recreational farming, rural tourism, e-commerce, and the food industry, to bring more benefits to farmers,” said Tang.

The report goes on to say that institutional reform and mechanism innovation is a fundamental way to push forward supply-side structural reform in agriculture. It hopes that through reform and innovation, the relationship between the government and the market will be better handled, which would vitalize the market and cultivate and upgrade new growth engines for the agricultural sector and rural areas.

The opinion is echoed by People’s Daily, which calls for enhanced technological innovation to facilitate modern agriculture.