Combines work in rice fields in Huaian, Jiangsu province, in September, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua)
China will continue to protect the stability and consistency of rural land contracts and protect farmers' interests, according to a new guideline from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council.
The document, released on Tuesday, notes that the collective ownership of land and household contract management will remain unchanged to ensure that farmers can effectively exercise their ownership and enjoy equal rights to contracted lands as members of their collectives.
Additionally, the rights of rural households to contract collective land in accordance with the law shall remain unchanged. Household operations shall occupy a fundamental position in agricultural production and management.
It also aims to maintain the stability of rural households' contracted lands.
Since the country adopted the household contract responsibility system in the early 1980s, the property rights of rural farmland have been divided into two layers: the ownership right that is collectively owned by a rural community, normally a village; and the use right, which is held by an individual household that contracts a piece of farmland from the village.
While the existing law only states that a farmland use contract is valid for 30 years, the guideline said that the contracts will be extended for another 30 years upon expiration.
The move is conducive to enhancing farmers' confidence in production, promoting rural land circulation and ensuring long-term stability in rural areas, said Han Changfu, minister of agriculture and rural affairs.
Upon the extension, the rural land contracting practices will have remained stable for 75 years since the first round of contracting, he said.
Han said on Thursday in Beijing that stable land contract relations can fully protect farmers' land contract rights and interests, improve the rural land contracting management system and enhance farmers' confidence in agricultural production.
"The stability is also beneficial to promote the transfer of rural land management rights," Han said.
In China, contracted land in rural areas includes arable land, forestlands and grasslands jointly owned by farmers and the State. Those lands are used collectively by the farmers.
Han said China now has over 100 million hectares of contracted rural land, involving nearly 200 million rural households.
Xinhua contributed to this story.