BEIJING, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- China will steadily push forward the issuing of land-use certificates in rural areas and aims to complete the work in five years, the top agriculture official said on Wednesday.
"China will expand the registration to more areas in 2014...and try to roll out the scheme nationwide in 2015 with an aim to finish the work in five years," said Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu at a national meeting on agriculture.
The registration of rural land-use rights have under the spotlight after a key reform meeting last month decided to gradually allow farmers to transfer and mortgage their land-use rights, or turn the rights into shares in large-scale farming entities.
In China, urban land is owned by the state and rural land is normally under collective ownership.
While gradual reforms since the 1980s saw the trading of urban land evolve into a vigorous property market, land in the countryside remain largely static as farmers mostly have rights to use, but cannot directly trade or mortgage them.
To allow the gradual transfer of rural land-use rights, the first step would be the registration and confirmation of the rights, without which an orderly market cannot function.
China has started the pilot registration program in 2008, which expanded to 50 counties by 2012 and to 100 more this year.
Han said two provinces will first begin experiments in all areas, while other provincial-level regions should choose at least one county for the program next year.