context: The long awaited five-year rural revitalisation strategic plan aims to deliver on a strategy first proposed at the 19th National Party Congress and foreshadowed by an ambitious February No. 1 Document on rural affairs. Senior leaders have declared the plan an ‘historic task’ essential to accomplishing China’s modernisation goals and building a moderately prosperous society. By 2020, the plan calls for a complete institutional framework and policy system to be built—and a related Law is under development. Detailed action plans by local governments, and commitments of public and social finance are anticipated in coming months.

‘Rural revitalisation strategic plan (2018-22)’ was released by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and State Council 26 September. Its 37 sections outline periodic mandates and key tasks during 2018-22 toward the strategy’s overall goal of building rural areas with thriving businesses, pleasant living environments, social mores and civility, effective governance, and prosperity. Critical priorities include developing thriving rural businesses, delivering agricultural modernisation and creating vertically integrated rural industries. Details include

  • ag modernisation
    • safeguarding ag production capacity
      • optimising food security strategic system
      • protecting permanent basic farmland
      • promoting mechanisation and informatisation
    • accelerating ag transformation and upgrading
      • optimising efficient farming layout
      • promoting ag structural adjustment
      • consolidating advantageous industries
      • guaranteeing the quality and safety of ag products
      • developing ag brands
      • building a new pattern of ag trade liberalisation
    • building modern agricultural operation systems
      • consolidating and optimising basic farm operating systems and structures such as rural land contracts and transfers
      • developing new ag operators
      • innovating in the rural collective economy
      • connecting small farmers to new agribusiness operators and modern farming systems
    • strengthening technological support for agriculture
      • strengthening ag sci-tech innovation capacity
      • building ag sci-tech innovation platforms
      • accelerating commercialisation and application of ag sci-tech achievements
    • optimising ag support system
      • increasing investment to the ag sector
      • reforming state purchase and storage and grain reserve systems
      • strengthening ag risk management capacity through ag insurance and futures products
  • rural industrial revitalisation
    • promoting integration of rural industries
      • discovering new functions for agriculture and rural areas
      • developing new business models in rural areas
    • building interest linkage mechanisms
      • increasing farmer participation
      • innovating income-sharing mechanisms
    • stimulating entrepreneurship
      • improving service system for innovation and entrepreneurship
      • building incentive mechanism for rural entrepreneurship

Focusing on the inputs of labour, land and capital, the plan also makes arrangements to speed up permanent urban residency for rural people moving to cities, strengthening talent support, infrastructure and social service support, guaranteeing land supply for the strategy’s implementation, diversifying sources of investment, improving financial support and other tasks.

Rural infrastructure conditions, particularly natural gas supply and rural sewage treatment facilities, are the major obstacles to revitalising industry and improving living environment in rural areas, Li Guoxiang 李国祥 Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) Rural Development Institute told Economic Information Daily.

Government should increase investment on rural social security system building to improve healthcare conditions in rural areas, says Zhu Qizhen 朱启臻 Chinese Agricultural University, cited by the Economic Information Daily. He also highlights that in addition to public investment, there is large space for social capital to participate in rural revitalisation.

The plan is fiscally feasible and has identified sources of funding for each key project, says Dang Guoying 党国英 CASS Rural Development Institute. She advocates a close connection between poverty alleviation and rural development.