MARA Organizes National Video Conference to Arrange 2020 Spring Agricultural Work
by Lea Siebert
Prof. Liu Yonggong
3 March 2020
Inspired by an ancient Chinese saying “A good start-up in the spring ensures the whole year harvest”, on 25 February 2020, Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) held a national video conference for arranging 2020 spring agricultural work. Minister Han Changfu stressed the extraordinary importance of agricultural work in 2020 for achieving the goal of eliminating national absolute poverty and for building a new milestone towards the national strategic objective to create a society of moderate prosperity. He pointed out that Chinese agricultural production in 2020 is facing a new situation and the particular challenge caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 since December 2019.
In his speech, Minister Han highlighted five important action areas for an effective start-up of 2020 spring planting and production and for securing the national food production and supply:
(1) Strengthen the field management to ensure the summer harvest
Strengthen the field management for 20 million ha winter wheat and large areas of other overwinter crops. MARA urges local governments to organize farmers to timely carry out field management, particularly spring irrigation, fertilization and control of pests to ensure a good summer harvest.
(2) Effectively carry out spring field farming activities to ensure the targeted grain outputs
Local governments should proactively facilitate farmers to timely start spring farmland ploughing and preparation, stabilize and ensure the annual sowing areas of major grain crops. Currently, the production and market supply of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other production means are to a certain extend affected by COVID-19 outbreak. Local governments will take effective actions to resume the factory production and re-open the market stores and ensure the logistic transportation in order to strengthen the support of large-scale farms and enterprises, ensure farm machinery services, etc. Counties with COVID-19 cases in Hubei and other provinces, should timely resume the spring farming activities while organizing the epidemic prevention and control.
(3) Proactively organize the “Vegetable Basket” to ensure effective food market supply
The State Council of China has established a system in which city mayors assume responsibility to stabilize the “Vegetable Basket” and food market supply, particularly during the outbreak of COVID-19. The food supply to Wuhan and Hubei Province must be ensured. Local governments should take adequate countermeasures to resume the livestock production, including livestock feedstuff supply, livestock product storage and processing, help fishery farmers to resolve product backlog affected by COVID-19. Local market supervision and quarantine authorities will strengthen the product quality inspection and control.
(4) Effectively implement preferential and supportive policies to revitalize the pig production
The targeted swine production quotas will be designated to county and city levels in order to fully restore the swine industry. Local agricultural and livestock bureaus will strengthen technical and policy supports and services to the large and medium size swine farms with a total stock number from 500 to 5000 heads, in order to support farmers and investors to establish new swine farms and enable them to enter into the full production capacity. To make up the market demand gap of pork, local governments should also provide concrete support to poultry meat and egg production – also to poultry farms in the COVID-19 epidemic areas to overcome the temporary difficulties.
(5) Strengthen agricultural disaster prevention and reduction mechanism
The disaster prevention and management work will focus on following areas: (i) Prepare and prevent spring droughts and summer flood disasters; (ii) crop pests and disease management and control, particularly to prevent and control the wheat stripe rust in Sichuan, Shaanxi province and fusarium in Jiangsu and Anhui province; Spodoptera litura (corn leafworm) in Yunnan and Guangxi; prepare, monitor and set-up early warning against the invasion of desert locust; (iii) strengthen and strictly implement animal epidemic prevention and control, particularly the monitoring and prevention of African swine fever, avian influenza, etc. and effectively operate the livestock epidemic response system to prevent large area outbreaks.