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China maps out agricultural, rural modernization in next five years

By Yu Jingxian, People’s Daily

China recently released a plan to advance agricultural and rural modernization during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), which specifies the goals and major tasks of the country’s agricultural and rural modernization in the next five years.

Deng Xiaogang, vice minister of agricultural and rural affairs, said it was the first plan of China that designs agricultural and rural modernization as a whole and aims to advance the two simultaneously.

The plan includes the development features, general requirement, major goals, key tasks, major projects and policies of agricultural and rural modernization during the 14th Five-Year Plan period.

China’s work concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers has gone through a historic shift in the 14th Five-Year Plan period, focusing on pushing forward rural vitalization in an all-round way, Deng introduced.

Owners of a grocery shop in Shuangsheng township, Yilong county, Nanchong, southwest China's Sichuan province sell their products on a livestream show, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Tang Mingping/People's Daily)
Owners of a grocery shop in Shuangsheng township, Yilong county, Nanchong, southwest China’s Sichuan province sell their products on a livestream show, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Tang Mingping/People’s Daily)

He said the plan takes the implementation of rural vitalization as a guidance and common prosperity as a goal, and pursues a path of integrated design and simultaneous advancement of agricultural and rural modernization.

According to the plan, China will see a further consolidated foundation of agriculture, comprehensive progresses made in rural vitalization, and significant advancement in modernizing agriculture and rural areas after five years of efforts.

Regions with better conditions will take the lead in basically realizing agricultural and rural modernization, while consolidating and expanding the achievements in poverty alleviation will be effectively aligned with rural vitalization in regions that have shaken off poverty.

By 2035, China will have made decisive progress in rural vitalization, and modernization of agriculture and rural areas will be basically achieved, the plan says.

The plan specifies seven major tasks in modernizing agriculture and rural areas between 2021 and 2025.

To advance agricultural modernization, China will improve its capability in supplying major agricultural products including grains, improve the quality and competitiveness of the agricultural industry, and improve the modernization of the industrial and supply chains in the agricultural sector.

To modernize rural areas, the country will take steps to make the countryside more livable, greener, and more civilized and harmonious.

Besides, China will also align rural vitalization with its efforts to consolidate and expand the achievements in poverty alleviation.

At present, new growth drivers represented by digital economy are rapidly taking shape, and the integration between digital technology and agriculture and rural areas is also accelerating. New technologies, products and modes are constantly emerging.

Infrastructure, intelligent agriculture and digital villages are three emphases of the plan.

Photo taken on Dec. 4, 2021 shows Yucun village, Tianhuangping township, Anji county, Huzhou, east China's Zhejiang province. (Photo by Xie Shangguo/People's Daily Online)
Photo taken on Dec. 4, 2021 shows Yucun village, Tianhuangping township, Anji county, Huzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo by Xie Shangguo/People’s Daily Online)

The plan says the construction of 1000M fiber optic networks, 5G and mobile internet of things in rural areas shall be synergetic with those in urban areas, calling for digital and intelligent upgrading of agricultural production and rural infrastructure.

It also advocates the establishment and application of a rural big data system, as well as in-depth integration between agricultural businesses and a new generation of information technologies, such as internet of things, big data, AI, and block chain. It calls for efforts to build a batch of digital farms, digital irrigation areas and intelligent ranches and fish farms, to constantly improve digital development in the agricultural sector.

The plan proposes to build a “click-and-mortar” digital service system for rural residents, extend the “Internet +” government services to primary levels in rural areas, further enhance the construction of intelligent rural communities, drive rural education, healthcare and culture sectors with digitalization, and make rural governance and services more intelligent and targeted.

To accelerate agricultural and rural modernization, China must pursue integrated urban-rural development. Taking counties as an important starting point for integrated urban-rural development, the plan has made a series of concrete arrangements, including granting urban residency to rural people who have moved to cities, promoting integrated urban-rural development at county level, and smoothening the flow of factors of production between urban and rural areas.

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