BEIJING (B)--The Chinese government is determined to optimize the grain industry structure and cut taxes levied on farmers in the next five years so as to increase the income of farmers, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late Feb. 12, citing proposals made by the State Council for the tenth five-year plan (2001 to 2006).

Problems in the farming sector include weak prices for farm produce and a slow increase in farmers' incomes, which could undermine the national development and social stability, according to the report made by the country's highest policy-making body. The government vows to deepen the ongoing restructuring program in which grain varieties, crop quality and planting layout would be optimized, according to the proposals.

As part of the program, China has been increasing production of high-quality winter wheat and paddy rice in the north, while cutting the acreage of low-quality grains, such as spring wheat in northeastern China and indica rice in the south, BridgeNews reported earlier.

Meanwhile, China will stabilize its grain area in the next five years to balance the country's grain output and demand, Xinhua said. Some 110 million hectares of cultivated land will be dedicated to grain crops during the tenth five-year plan period, a Ministry of Agriculture official said.

The government plans to continue to procure all the surplus grains that are under the price protection scheme, Xinhua quoted the proposals as saying.

Currently, winter wheat in northern China, rice and corn fall under the price protection scheme.

Additional channels to generate more income for farmers include wide application of farm technology and development of farm processing industry, the proposals suggested.

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