China to keep 1.66 bln mu of land for crops in 2012


China aims to keep its total acreage for planting grain above 1.66 billion mu (110.67 million hectares) this year, a senior official said Friday.

Han Changfu, minister of agriculture, said at a work conference that China will take all necessary measures to ensure that the crop-growing acreage for the spring planting season stays over 920 million mu.

He urged agricultural departments at all levels to beware of unfavorable factors that may affect grain output, especially weather-related disasters.

Meanwhile, the ministry will bolster the use of science and technology in the country's fields to boost production, Han said.

He said the ministry will send 700,000 agricultural experts to rural areas to help local farmers improve their yields.

The Chinese government regularly places great emphasis on the country's agricultural sector, singling out the acceleration of scientific and technological innovation in agriculture as the focus of this year's first official government document.

China's grain output rose 4.5 percent year-on-year to a record high of 571.21 million tonnes in 2011, marking the eighth consecutive year of growth for the country's grain output.

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