Agriculture, rural areas and farmers' issues remain China's top priorities for the 17th consecutive year as this year's "No. 1 central document," released Wednesday, stressed poverty alleviation and improving rural weak links.
As the first policy statement released by China's central authorities each year, the document is seen as an indicator of policy priorities. This year it urged efforts on two main tasks -- winning the battle against poverty and strengthening areas of weakness concerning agriculture, rural areas and farmers, as the country strives to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects this year.
The country will move to win the battle against poverty, improve infrastructure and public services in rural areas, ensure supplies of important agricultural products, promote the increases in farmers' incomes, strengthen grassroots governance in rural areas and improve rural weak links, according to the document.
It noted work should be done to maintain social harmony and stability in rural areas and enable rural people to feel more satisfied, happy and secure. It also demanded efforts to promote high-quality agricultural development.
China aims to achieve its goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects this year, which also marks the last year for the country to win the battle against poverty.
Facing a complex situation with emerging challenges from home and abroad and downward pressures on economic growth, it is of great importance for the country to stabilize the agricultural industry and give full play to the role of agriculture, rural areas and farmers as the ballast stone, said an official with the office of the central rural work leading group.
China has made decisive achievements in poverty relief and vowed to fully realize poverty elimination targets this year.
In doing so, the country will increase support for areas in deep poverty by adding poverty alleviation funds, the document said.
Efforts should also be made to provide institutional guarantees to prevent people from returning to poverty after being lifted out of it in a bid to consolidate poverty relief results.
The document noted that the country should keep the poverty alleviation policies on stable footing.
China will see an immense change after it accomplishes its poverty elimination tasks, it said, urging that poverty reduction work should center more on addressing relative poverty and become normalized.
The country should establish long-term mechanisms and strengthen the "top-level design" to tackle relative poverty while accelerating its pace to introduce the guideline, connecting poverty alleviation efforts with rural vitalization strategies.
Areas of weakness in rural work such as infrastructure and public services should be improved, while efforts should be made to ensure safe drinking water and strengthen rural environmental protection, said the document.
Rural education will be further improved by strengthening the building of boarding schools in townships and increasing supplies of inclusive preschool education resources through multiple channels, it said.
The document also noted that the country will beef up efforts on improving medical and health services in rural areas.
As food security is a top priority, China will secure supplies of important agricultural products and maintain the stability of grain planting areas and output this year.
China will work to return hog production capacity to normal levels by the end of 2020, support the production of dairy and poultry products and guide the optimization of meat consumption structure, according to the document.
The document called for the integrated industrial development in rural areas propelled by a whole industry chain based on local resources and advantages, along with industrial clusters with a competitive edge.
Agricultural structures should be optimized to feature more high-quality agricultural products and better certification of healthy food, organic produce and source of production, while e-commerce penetration in rural areas and oversight of food and produce should be enhanced.
It also urged the stable employment of migrant workers among efforts to protect their wages.
Governance and the leadership of the Communist Party of China in rural communities should be strengthened, it said.
The document also vowed more investments into rural work, encouraging the issuance of local government special bonds to boost rural vitalization as well as monetary, fiscal and policy support for rural work.
New agricultural entities such as qualified family farms are eligible to enjoy preferential credit and tax policies, it said.
The country will steadily expand pilot reforms of inclusive finance in rural areas and advance the listing of futures and options related to agricultural products.
Land for the development of rural industries should be guaranteed, it said.
The document also stressed efforts to encourage rural migrant workers, college graduates, veterans and entrepreneurs to start businesses in rural areas and support the application of more technological achievements in rural areas.
The country vowed to step up breakthroughs in key agricultural core technologies and develop heavy smart agricultural machinery. Meanwhile, the building of agricultural innovation platforms such as science and technology centers should be strengthened.
The document also stressed key reforms in rural area. The country will improve the basic rural operation system, advance reform of the rural land system and make specific policies on extending the current round of rural land contracts for another 30 years upon expiration based on trials.
China will press ahead with pilot reforms of the rural collective property rights system nationwide, the document said.
The document urged the deepening of reform in agricultural administration to perfect the law enforcement system and improve law enforcement capabilities.
Policies should fit local conditions and farmers' wishes, the document noted, stressing that officials should avoid formalism and bureaucracy in policy implementation.
"We should do what we can and solve pressing issues one by one," the document said.
"We will resolutely win the battle against poverty, accelerate efforts to address major weaknesses in agriculture, rural areas and farmers and make our due contribution to securing a decisive victory in achieving the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects," it said.