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China to step up investment in rural infrastructure

BEIJING, Oct 25 (Reuters) - China will accelerate investment in rural infrastructure to improve its ability to ensure food supply while also stabilizing the economy, according to a plan published by the agriculture ministry on Tuesday.

The plan, backed by eight ministries and government agencies, comes amid slowing growth in the world's second-biggest economy, due to persistent COVID-19 curbs and a prolonged property slump.

Beijing has already issued a raft of measures to try to stimulate the economy in the final months of the year but ongoing measures to contain COVID-19 are stifling economic activity.

The rural infrastructure plan will target renovation of irrigation systems, reinforcement of reservoirs, building modern greenhouses and fisheries as well as cold storage facilities.

It urged construction to start as soon as possible, with local governments encouraged to support the projects.

"Strengthening the construction of agricultural and rural infrastructure is a key task for expanding effective investment and stabilising the overall economic market," it said. (Reporting by Dominique Patton, Editing by Louise Heavens, Kirsten Donovan)

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