Chinese Premier urges more efforts to boost grain production

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Thursday called for more efforts to boost grain production, while pledging to make available more funds to the agricultural sector.

Steady agricultural production is the basis for managing inflationary expectation, stabilizing overall consumer prices, driving economic growth and maintaining social stability and harmony, Wen said at a national teleconference on grain production.

Further, rising costs of grain production, lingering drought in north China's major wheat-growing regions and a slackening of agricultural production in some areas would directly affect China's summer grain output, he said.

Wen noted that local authorities must monitor drought conditions, adopt measures to minimize the impact of drought on wheat-growing regions, make preparations for spring plowing, provide technological services for farmers and strengthen field management.

More efforts should be made to strengthen farmland irrigation and water conservancy construction, encourage farmers to build irrigation facilities, increase drought-fighting material reserves and promote water-saving irrigation throughout the country, he said.

Government at all levels should increase funds to boost agricultural production. The central government had allocated 12.9 billion yuan to support grain production and fight drought, Wen said.

China would also strengthen the regulation of farm produce markets and raise minimum rice purchase prices to boost farmers' incomes, he said.

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