News last update:6 Aug 2012

China's grain yield increase still possible

After harvest growth for three consecutive years, there is still room for China to see grain output increase if the government provides sufficient support, an agricultural expert said Tuesday.

Chen Zhangliang, president of the China Agricultural University said that a 10% grain output increase per mu of lands (about one 15th of a hectare) is predictable this year if the government offers agricultural subsidy and provides technical supports.

Room for increase
"There is still room for an increase of grain yield though many people believe the country's grain production has hit the peak as per unit area yield in some regions has been greatly raised due to the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticide," Chen, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said on the sidelines of the top legislature's annual session.

No money
China's average unit yield of grain stays at 400 kilograms per mu, and the figure varies greatly in different regions, according to Chen. "The unit yield in some places is still very low since farmers have no money to buy chemical fertilizer and timely, sufficient irrigation is not secured," he said, adding these regions are where the country can seek potential unit yield increase. Chen also said that China should not put the quality of grain products over quantity at the current stage.

Despite serious natural disasters, China last year saw a rich grain harvest with total output amounting to 497.45 billion kilograms, 13.44 billion kilograms more than the previous year. Experts attributed the steady increase to farmers' willingness to grow grain due to higher grain prices and the government's preferential policies, such as subsidies for grain growing and the abolishment of agriculture taxes. However, observers also warned that the country's grain production remains weak compared with its huge population.

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