By Gao Yuncai from People’s Daily

China’s agriculture and rural departments have devoted great efforts to promote high-quality, green and branded agricultural products, by following the principle of high-quality development, implementing rural rejuvenation strategy and carrying forward supply-side structural reform in agriculture.

These efforts have deepened rural reform and increased farmers’ income.As a result , the country’s agriculture and rural economy embrace a good opening with steady growth.

Zeng Yande, head of the crop production management department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said a stable summer grain production this year indicates a bumper autumn harvest.

Despite a slight decline of the average output of per unit area of products, the country’s summer crops yielded a generally good harvest this year with the total area for planting summer crops remaining stable.

The total yield of summer crops stayed high at 138.7 billion kilograms, down 3.05 billion kilograms from the last year.

Currently, the harvest of early season rice in southern China has ended with good yields. According to statistics by the ministry, the production and sales of livestock, poultry and aquatic products in the country were generally balanced.

In the first half of this year, the total output of pork, beef, mutton and poultry meat was 39.95 million tonnes, a year-on-year increase of 0.9 percent. The total output of aquatic products reached 27.4 million tonnes, up by 0.86 percent from the same period last year. China’s agriculture and animal husbandry sector is thriving in general.

Besides rising agricultural production, the country’s agricultural structure has been further optimized, with a more balanced supply and demand.

Zeng introduced that the adjustment of agricultural structure, including reducing rice-growing area, expanding the land to grow soybeans-growing land and enlarging the area to grow crops for feeding animals, is proceeding well.

According to the adjustment plan, rice-growing area in the low-yield and cold regions in northeastern China and areas producing low-quality rice along the Yangtze River Basin will altogether be reduced by more than 10 million mu, or 666,667 hectares, and the planting area of soybeans in Northeast China and Huang-Huai-Hai region will be significantly increased.

The corn planting area in certain regions that produce low-yield and low-quality products will continue to be reduced, while the planting area of fodder grass in these regions such as alfalfa and silo corn will be markedly expanded.

Steady advance has been made for green agriculture development, and new steps have been taken for agricultural transformation and upgrading.

The agricultural production environment has been improved, thanks to the efforts to push forward the replacement of chemical fertilizers with organic fertilizers, and the utilization of resources such as crop straws and livestock and poultry manure.

The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides continues to be reduced, and the comprehensive utilization rate of livestock and poultry manure has exceeded 60 percent.

It is known that over 90 percent of straws in Henan and Anhui provinces have been re-utilized as fertilizer, and rural people’s living environment has been improved.

With accelerated promotion of green production, over 200 million mu of green food production sites have been monitored for environmental purposes, accounting for about 10 percent of the country’s total arable land. The area of rice-fish farming is expected to surpass 28 million mu.

In addition, the supply of high-quality agricultural products has remarkably increased that over 97 percent of agricultural products are proved eligible in routine quality and safety assessment. Over 8,000 agricultural products have been newly added to the certified green and organic argo-products and received geographical indications, adding the total number to 35,000.

The primary, secondary and tertiary industries in rural areas have accelerated their pace for integration, adding new drives for growth of rural economy. In the first half of the year, agricultural product processing industry in rural China has seen steady growth.

The main business income of agricultural product processing enterprises above designated size amounted to 7.8 trillion yuan (about $1.14trillion), up by 6.1 percent year on year, with the total profit reaching over 500 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 7.4 percent.

The business climate index of processing enterprises for edible agricultural products was 131.9, an increase of 2.5 percentage points over the same period last year.

Rural e-commerce has thrived. The country now has more than 9.8 million rural vendors running business online, creating more than 28 million jobs.

The first 6 months of the year also witnessed a prosperous leisure agriculture and rural tourism. The rural areas received 1.6 billion tourists in total and reported an income of 420 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 15 percent.

Development potential of China’s rural areas has been released step by step, with a faster growth in consumption and investment.

The growth of consumption in rural areas has outpaced that in urban areas. Retail sales of consumer goods in rural China increased to 2.593 trillion yuan, increasing by 10.5 percent from a year ago, which is 1.3 percentage points more than the rate in urban areas.

Investment in agriculture and rural areas of China has maintained a rapid growth. The country’s fixed-asset investment in the primary industry climbed to 987.2 billion yuan in the first half of the year, up by 13.5 percent over the previous year. The growth rate was 9.7 and 6.7 percentage points higher than that of the secondary and tertiary industries respectively.

The first half of the year also saw a steady rise in China’s imports and exports of agricultural products.

From January to May, the total value of agricultural imports and exports reached 564.57 billion yuan, up by 4.1 percent year on year, among which exports were 199.37 billion yuan, 2.5 percent more than that of the previous year, and imports reached 365.2 billion yuan, up by 5.1 percent year on year.

In addition, new export growth points were brought to China by countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. In the Jan.-May period, China’s agricultural exports to ASEAN members increased by 7 percent over the previous year.

In the first half of the year, Chinese farmers saw a steady income growth and the salaries of migrant workers continued to increase.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, rural residents of China enjoyed a per capita disposable income of 7,142 yuan in the first half year, an increase of 6.8 percent after deducting the price factor. The growth of rural per capita disposable income was consistent with the country’s GDP growth, and outpaced that of urban residents by 1 percentage point.

The urban-rural per capita income ratio was 2.77:1, narrowing by 0.02 year on year. During the first half of the year, total labor force of China’s rural migrant workers reached 180 million, an increase of 0.8 percent year on year. The average income of migrant workers was 3,661 yuan per month, up by 7.5 percent over the last year. The growth rate was 1.2 percentage points higher than that in the same period of last year.