context: Wrapping up its Congress on 22 October, the Communist Party of China set the tone of its understanding of opportunities and the most crucial challenges facing ag and the rural sector. Security and modernisation are key themes.

President Xi Jinping’s report to the 20th Party Congress reviewed the achievements of the ag sector over the past decade, also unveiling the Party’s vision for the future development of ag and the rural sector. Three themes stood out

  • comprehensively promoting rural revitalisation, comprising the improvement of rural industry, human resources, culture, environment and grassroots organisations
  • ensuring food security as part of national security, strengthening the supply chain resilience and protecting the 120 million ha of farmland as a ‘red line’
  • improving the biodiversity, stability and sustainability of ecosystems, highlighting the Yangtze river ten-year fishery ban, crop rotation and fallow farmland system, preventing invasive species

Party delegates from research institutes, ag companies and the countryside also shared their own experiences in rural development.

Technology is a crucial factor in high-quality ag development. Domestically-bred wheat varieties have covered over 95 percent of the overall wheat farmland. The next step is to collect germplasm resources and search for useful genes, using them to improve current crop varieties, said Shi Xiaowei 时晓伟 Tianjin Academy of Agricultural Sciences research fellow.

Rural revitalisation and environmental sustainability can be well combined, as demonstrated by some projects carried out by delegates working at the grassroots. For example, to reduce pollution brought by animal husbandry, a village in Shanxi, led by the Party secretary Zhang Lingyun 张凌云, built an organic fertiliser processing factory and 54 ha vegetable plant base. Turning hog excrement into organic fertiliser and rotten vegetables into animal feed, the village has effectively reutilised resources.