context: MoA has been renamed and its responsibilities adjusted as part of a larger suite of institutional reforms introduced at 2018 Two Sessions. Rural development experts are hailing the move as a step in the right direction for improved rural planning. Details of the new Ministry’s expanded fund management responsibilities have not been discussed elsewhere, suggesting that Yang Jinghua’s analysis is based on advance information.

A new Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will consolidate administrative responsibilities for the agricultural industry and village management, according to rural development experts cited in Jiemian.

Li Xiaoyun 李小云 China Agriculture University professor says the move is critical to addressing the ‘three rural issues’ and may be the first glimpse of a new institutional framework for rural revitalisation discussed in the 2018 No. 1 Document. Li believes the new institutional arrangement will end the Ministry of Agriculture’s ‘singular’ focus on agriculture and consolidate fragmented rural development planning responsibilities. The new Ministry’s broader responsibilities for rural resources, capital and planning will ensure rural revitalisation goals can be achieved. Li further suggests that moving fishing fleet oversight out of the Ministry’s purview will ‘increase focus’.

Yang Jinghua 杨敬华 Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences researcher says that a number of rural development funds currently managed by National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Land Resources and Ministry of Water Resources will be consolidated under the new Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, ending redundancy and better coordinating financial support to the sector.