China’s upgraded farmland surpassed 66 million hectares in 2022, accounting for more than half of the total cultivated land areas nationwide, which is producing over 500 billion kilograms of food a year.
Efforts will be made to gradually develop all permanent basic cropland into high-standard farmland, make real progress in the campaign to invigorate the seed industry, and keep major varieties firmly in our own hands, said President Xi Jinping at the annual central rural work conference in December 2022.
It is then expected in 2023 that China will cultivate new high-standard farmland of over three million hectares and further upgrade current cropland into high-standard farmland of over two million hectares.
After being transformed into high-standard farmland, a mu (equal to about 0.066 hectares) farmland can produce up to 20 percent more food than previously, said Wu Hongwei, official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, adding that the enhanced capability of retaining soil, fertilizer and water in high-standard farmlands now require 13.8 percent fertilizer and 19.8 percent chemicals less than before.
In 2019 and 2020, the central funds arranged 85.9 billion and 86.7 billion RMB respectively to support the national annual construction of over 5.3 million hectares of high-standard farmland. In 2021 and 2022, they grew respectively to 100.8 billion and 109.6 billion RMB for over 6.6 million hectares of high-standard farmland.
Local governments are also innovating investment and fundraising channels for farmland upgrades.
Provinces like Jiangxi and Sichuan, for example, through measures like issuance of high -standard farmland special bonds, increased the investment threshold for high-standard farmland to 3,000 RMB per mu, while in Jiangsu, the average investment input per-mu already reached 3,000 RMB.
To optimally manage high-standard farmland, a variety of technologies have been employed. A QR code imprinted in an aluminum panel, for example, stores project data of farmland upgrades online, along with details of relevant supervising organizations.