BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua)-- The Chinese government plans to invest more than 100 billion yuan (15 billion U.S. dollars) over the next five years to improve farmland for the nation's food security, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources (MOLAR) on Friday.
The investment aims to improve about 4 million hectares of land and replenish an additional 670,000 hectares of arable land in its major grain producers -- Hebei, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Shandong, Hubei provinces and Inner Mongolia and Guangxi autonomous regions.
An extra grain production capacity of 10 million tones will be added to China's agriculture industry every year if the plan goes smoothly, according to MOLAR, which supervises land use in China.
"On one hand, we need to protect the arable land base for grain security; on the other hand, we need to satisfy land use for economic development," Xu Shaoshi, Minister of Land and Resources, told Xinhua.
"It is a dilemma," he noted.
"To solve the problem, we need to use land more economically, reduce farmland seizures for industrial and residential use, while trying all means to increase our country's arable land area," Xu said.
China began improving its farmland in terms of per unit grain production capacity by upgrading the ecological environment for cultivation beginning in 2008 due to food security concerns over shrinking arable land amid the country's rapid economic growth and urbanization.