FACTBOX: China targets rural issues in central document
BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- China's first policy document focused on rural issues again this year, as the world's most populous nation strove to guarantee grain security amid rapid urbanization and ensure the well-being of its rural population.
The document listed ensuring grain security and supplies of major farm produce as this year's top priority, suggesting growing concerns.
Although China has recorded consecutive grain harvests over the past nine years, further increase in output is more difficult as rapid urbanization has led to a decline in arable land areas and a large number of rural labor forces switching to non-agricultural jobs.
The document, issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council every year, has been dubbed the "No. 1 central document" and an indicator of the country's policy priorities.
This is the 10th consecutive year in which the document focuses on rural issues.
The country will draw up policies aimed at speeding up the transfer of rural land and offer more subsidies to family farms and farmer' cooperatives in an effort to develop large-scale farming, according to the document.
The country's agricultural and rural development have entered "a new stage" with the progress of industrialization and urbanization, and various challenges have emerged. These include higher production costs, rising demand for farm produce, rural labor forces' influx into cities and an aging population, it said.
To encourage agricultural production, the country will continue to increase the minimum state-purchasing prices of wheat and rice, and conduct temporary state reserves of corn, rapeseeds, soybeans, cotton and sugar, it said.
The country vows to promote the development of modern agricultural industry, advance technology progress in the sector, improve the efficiency of farm produce distribution network and enhance financial support to sectors concerning farmers, agriculture and rural areas.
As part of its urbanization drive, China also pledges to speed up reform of its "hukou" household registration system and give migrant workers more access to urban public services - education of their kids, public health, housing and cultural services, the document said.
Chinese official data showed that the country's migrant worker population amounted to 253 million by the end of 2011, up 4.4 percent from 2010.
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