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China to boost farmland by 2020 in food security push
[BEIJING] China plans to boost its reserves of farm and arable land over the next three years, the State Council said on Thursday, as part of an effort to maintain sufficient acreage for crops to ensure food security.
The Chinese government has identified food security as one of its biggest challenges in the next decade as vast tracts of farmland has been swallowed up by rapid urbanisation and environmental damage.
As part of its 2016-2020 five-year land management plan, the government said it will add 1.3 million hectares of arable land, partially replacing land lost over the past 13 years.
The increased reserves would come from cultivation and land management, the State Council said in a statement on its website, but did not give further details.
China currently has about 124.3 million hectares of arable land and more than 100 million hectares of farmland.
China's Ministry of Land and Resources said on Wednesday a three-year survey had shown that total arable land reserves have fallen by about 2 million hectares since 2003.
However, reserves of continuous arable land - concentrated, large scale land holdings - have fallen by 74 per cent over that time. The drop exceeded 90 per cent in 10 provinces including Beijing, Tianjin and Jiangsu.