BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese grain producers
got 51.4 billion yuan (6.9 billion U.S. dollars) in direct subsidies in 2007, up
66 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday.
China produced more than 500 million tons of grain in
2007, the fourth consecutive year of growth, but production still fell short of
Vice-minister of agriculture Wei Chao'an told a
meeting on Wednesday that the country should keep croplands no less than 106
million hectares, prevent sharp drops of grain output caused by natural
In response to escalating inflation, the government
pledged to draw up measures, including more farm subsidies, to ensure a stable
production and supply of produce in 2008.
The message was delivered at the annual central rural
work conference that concluded here on Sunday. The conference outlined the top
priorities for rural work in 2008 and a certain period thereafter.
Preventing shortages of major food items and extreme
price fluctuations would be a top priority of the government, a document
released after the conference said.
Surges in prices of grain, pork and cooking oil late
this year should have raised farm incomes. However, they also lifted the
consumer price index (CPI) to an 11-year high of 6.9 percent in November, well
above the government's 3 percent target.
The high inflation rate has become a major government
concern. It had been decided at the high-profile Central Economic Work
Conference that prevention of "current price increases from becoming evident
inflation" would be a primary goal of macroeconomic control in 2008.
The tricky situation prompted top leaders to instruct
the government to focus on national grain security and the continuation of
boosting farmers' income next year.
Analysts said that farmers could expect more direct
subsidies for grain next year. which would raise their enthusiasm for