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China seeks to rejuvenate countryside with 2018 rural policy

By Dominique Patton

BEIJING, Feb 4 (Reuters) - China will continue to promote
modernisation of its farm sector and investment in rural areas,
making them more attractive places to live and work, according
to a summary of the government's first policy statement of the
year, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday.

Known as the "number one document", the document sets out
Beijing's annual priorities in rural policy.

Ahead of its release, Xinhua said this year's policy would
set targets for rejuvenating rural areas. By 2035, agricultural
and rural modernization should have "basically taken shape", and
by 2050, the country should have a strong agriculture sector and
full realization of farmers' wealth.

China aims to modernise its sprawling farm sector to make it
more efficient and better able to supply changing tastes in its
wealthier population.

It has been overhauling support for grain production,
abandoning state stockpiling schemes and cutting support prices
for major crops, such as wheat and rice, after years of bumper
harvests saddled the government with overflowing reserves.

It is also trying to shift the focus to quality rather than
quantity by promoting varieties in higher demand, such as
high-gluten wheat, or corn used to make silage for dairy cows.
(Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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