Leaders at the provincial level are responsible for food security in their jurisdiction, the State Council said in a guideline issued on Jan 22.
Every province, autonomous region and municipality should make sure the extent of farmland is above the minimum level required, and make sure the quality of the farmland doesn’t fall.
The National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration of Grain should work with relevant departments to come up with a way to appraise how the authorities of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities fulfill their duties as required by the guideline.
According to the guideline:
* The authorities should speed up improvement in the quality of farmland by building better irrigation facilities and introducing water-saving technologies.
* Provinces, autonomous regions or municipalities that rely on grains purchased from other regions should develop farmland that ensures a high and stable yield even during droughts or floods.
* To make the agricultural development sustainable, local authorities should develop water-saving or dry farming, and strictly curb damage to the environment, such as excessive use of fertilizer, pesticide or plastic film, and extracting groundwater faster than it can be replenished.
* Grain producers should get full subsidies in time. More subsidies should be provided for major grain producing areas, financial institutions should be encouraged to lend money to grain producers, and the agricultural insurance system should be improved.
* The authorities should renovate barns that need repair, and set up a network of grain purchase stations that will make it easier for farmers to sell their produce.
* Provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities should replenish their food reserves strictly in accordance with the scale and deadline set by the government.
* The reform of State-owned grain companies should continue. The development of private grain companies and private food brokers should be supported, and grain companies should be encouraged to join the futures market to avoid risks.
* The authorities should maintain stability in the food market. Measures include ensuring the safety of imported food, cracking down on food smuggling, setting up an emergency food supply system by the end of 2017 and cracking down on behavior that disrupts market order, such as hoarding, profiteering or adulteration.
* Regions where soil is degraded by severe pollution should carry out remediation, change the kinds of crops planted and mark land where farming is forbidden. There should be a sound system of standards to assess the quality of grains, as well as a supervision chain from farm-to-table to ensure food safety.
* The authorities should establish a mechanism to dispose of grains that contain excessive amount of pollutants and make sure they don’t enter the food market.
* Grain producers as well as local authorities, including county-level and township-level authorities, should be held accountable if they fail to ensure grain quality and safety.
* The authorities should also encourage people to save food and introduce new equipment and technology to reduce grain loss.