China's top officials have set the consolidation of poverty relief achievements, rural revitalization and food security as priorities for next year's rural work, during the central rural work conference that was held in Beijing from Monday to Tuesday, outlining the roadmap for China's work related to agriculture, rural areas and rural people in the coming year.
At the historical juncture of moving towards the second centennial goal, consolidating and expanding the achievements of poverty reduction, comprehensively promoting rural revitalization and accelerating the modernization of agriculture and rural areas are important tasks for the country, said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the meeting.
The world is undergoing unprecedented changes, and to safeguard and stabilize the work related to agriculture, rural areas and rural people is the "ballast" to deal with the current situation and prepare for the new situation, stressed Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
China is building a new development pattern, and the strategic basis is to expand domestic market. In this regard, rural areas have a huge space and a lot can be done, he pointed out.
Consolidation of poverty relief achievements
In 2020, China has lifted nearly 100 million people out of poverty by the current income standard.
President Xi has stressed many times that shaking off poverty is not the finish line, but the starting point of a new life and new endeavors.
In the meeting, he urged more efforts to consolidate and expand the country's achievements in poverty alleviation and guarantee a smooth transition to rural vitalization.
Xi called for the improvement of a mechanism to effectively prevent people from falling back into poverty, and targeted measures to consolidate the results of poverty alleviation.
The CPC Central Committee decided to set up a five-year transitional period to help consolidate all achievements, during which policies and support will still be kept in place for counties that have just been taken off the absolute poverty list.
After the victory in poverty reduction, China will comprehensively promote rural revitalization, which is a historic shift in the focus of the work related to agriculture, rural areas and rural people, Xi stressed in the meeting.
Read more: Why is rural vitalization so important to China's development?
"The comprehensive implementation of the rural revitalization strategy is no less deep, extensive and difficult than the fight against poverty, so we must strengthen the top-level design and promote it with more powerful measures and gather greater strength," he underlined.
President Xi called for more efforts in developing rural industries, strengthening ecological civilization construction, deepening rural reforms and enhancing and improving rural governance.
It was in 2017, as one of the highlights of the 19th CPC National Congress, that Xi first gave the directive to implement the strategy of rural vitalization. He called it a major strategy that would have a fundamental impact on the nation.
To prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas and fully advance rural vitalization are also highlighted in the Party leadership's proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).
Food security has long been a top priority in China and the pandemic has brought it into even sharper focus.
At the meeting, Xi asked relevant authorities to pay close attention to food security and food production. He called on them to strictly guard the red line of 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) of arable land and take hard measures to implement the strictest system for protecting farmland.
'Red line' policy protects China's arable land
China feeds 1.4 bln people with secure, stable food supplies from 2016-2020
China has made notable progress in agricultural development this year despite challenges posed by COVID-19, plant pests and natural disasters.
China saw its 17th consecutive bumper year in 2020, with grain output up 0.9 percent year on year to nearly 670 billion kilograms in 2020. This marks the sixth consecutive year the country's total grain production has exceeded 650 billion kilograms, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the National Bureau of Statistics.
The country saw a 704,000-hectare increase in sown area in 2020, reversing the downward trend from the previous four consecutive years, and has vowed to maintain its sown area above 116.67 million hectares in 2021, according to the source.