MARA Releases Notice on 2020 Agricultural and Rural Policies and Rural Reform Work
by Lea Siebert
Prof. Liu Yonggong
18 March 2020
On 11 March 2020 a ministerial notice on the 2020 Agricultural and Rural Policies and Rural Reform Work has been released by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. The notice highlighted the following key policy and reform areas:
Fully launch up pilot projects on the reform of the rural collective property system. In 2020 the 15 provinces which already launched pilot projects will summarize and wrap-up the results and lessons of the projects, and other non-pilot provinces will start the pilot reform, covering all counties in whole the country. Local departments of agriculture and rural affairs will provide policy guidance to identify, quantify and register the collective property and assets and establish collective economic organizations at village level. Furthermore, they will organize and conduct acceptance of the pilot projects and summarize the best cases of reform and lessons which will be used for national governmental law legislation. Studies on the development approaches and modalities of the new type of rural collective economies are carried out, while the implementation of pilot studies on rural collective economic development models are continued in 20,000 pilot villages.
Further strengthen the collective property management mechanism. The local government will summarize the results and lessons of pilot work on collective property inventory and registration and formulate formal guidelines of collective property management; establish a rural collective property supervision and management information platform; replicate the pilot study results, construct and operationalize an effective collective property management system at grassroots level which will assure the clean governance and accountability of the property management.
Start the pilot of extending the land contract period for another 30 years. After expiration of the second round of land contract periods, step by step extending the land contracting period for another 30 years. The 2020 piloting provinces should fully carry out and complete the pilot work, while the provinces with current contracts to be terminated by 2021 must start to prepare and implement the pilot work within 2020 once their plan is approved by MARA. To ensure the smooth implementation and avoid social conflicts, MARA and its local department of agriculture and rural affairs at various levels should establish an effective coordination and supervision mechanism.
Further regulating the circulation of contracted land. The notice urges local governments to widely publicize the PRC Law of Land Contract at the grassroots level for facilitating the smooth implementation of land use right circulation. Provincial departments of agriculture and rural affairs are responsible for the administratively review of the eligibility of land lessees, for the prevention and control of the social risks of land leases. Local governments will establish an information platform for land circulation and will be encouraged to comprehensively combine the land lease contracting system with financial collateral, agricultural insurance, agricultural subsidy and rotational cropping and land fallow system. Strengthen the arbitration mechanism to settle the land lease disputes.
Speed up the high-quality development of family farms. Local governments will effectively implement the Official Circular on Promoting Family Farm Development jointly issued by MARA and other 8 relevant ministries in September 2019. To strengthen support to family farm development, MARA and local governments will improve the governance structure, enhance the operational management capacity, establish a national family farm catalogue, enroll qualified farms into the catalogue for delivering governmental policy and financial supports, encourage family farms to establish unions and associations to jointly enlarging the market channels, the central government will provide funds for supporting a family farm development program. The government will also support small farmers to enhance their capacity of participating in the modern agricultural development.
Carry out comprehensive policy reforms and innovations in Rural Reform Experimental Areas. MARA will continue to support a part of the policy reform experimental areas to carry out comprehensive policy and institutional reform pilot studies, timely and systematically evaluate and summarize the pilot project results and lessons and compile them into policy recommendations for further replication in non-pilot regions of the country.
Proactively carry out policy studies and investigations to tackle the major problems in agricultural and rural development. The policy studies will focus on the urgent issues and challenges emerging in the field of agriculture, rural and farmers’ development. The notice underlined the following policy study areas: policy issues related to eliminating absolute rural poverty; national food security and food supply; how to fill the gaps and remove constraints and weak links existing in agricultural and rural development; policy instruments to further increase farmers’ income; policies related to the rural land reform; rural financial service innovation, etc.