BEIJING — China has put 103.3 million hectares of farmland under permanent protection, stating that the areas should not be used for nonfarming purposes.
Some 2,887 counties nationwide had been tasked to define specific land plots for government permanent protection, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR).
The acreage was very slightly larger than target set in the country’s land use plan for 2006-2020.
Through the demarcation, the government is seeking to prevent farmland from being used for nonfarming purposes such as construction and property development, as this could threaten the country’s food security.
At the end of 2016, China had a total of about 135 million hectares of farmland, about 76,900 hectares less than 2015 levels.
China must retain at least 124.3 million hectares of farmland in 2020, under a new target set by the MLR in 2016, which is above a government red line of 120 million hectares.