Mon, Jan 07, 2013 - Page 8 News List

Failings in the agricultural sector

By Du Yu 杜宇

Therefore, it is not a good idea to discontinue the lowland afforestation program.

The same thing has happened with adjustments in policies for revitalizing fallow farmland.

Although the revitalization of fallow farmland has been proposed by experts, the new system put in place by agricultural authorities this month — that cuts incentives for keeping land fallow by half — ignores the possible impact this could have on farming villages.

Because the productivity of farmland that has been left fallow for a long time diminishes, and because agricultural water channels have been left unattended for years, water supply problems have emerged. As a result, farmers may have to go back to extracting groundwater, which does the government more harm than good.

The government’s new policy of decreasing subsidies for fallow farmland to one season per year will not only solve problems such as people not farming, overbuilding on farmland, the phenomenon of “fake farmers” — people abusing the system by buying a small plot of land, registering as farmers and receiving farmers’ insurance without actually engaging in farming — and low income for farmers. It could also bring about more imbalance between agricultural production and sale and create even more public discontent.

Du Yu is a member of the Chen-Li task force for Agricultural Reform.

Translated by Drew Cameron

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