China bans cities from encroaching on nearby farmland
Updated: 2014-11-04 14:49
BEIJING - China will designate prime arable land near cities, believed to be prone to expropriation, as "permanent basic farmland" to safeguard food security, authorities announced on Monday.
The Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said jointly in a notice that prime farmland in the outskirts of cities and towns and that near traffic routes should be categorized as "permanent basic farmland" that can be only used for cultivation.
It is believed that lands in these areas are prone to be expropriated for other purposes.
A total of 14 major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, will first implement the policy, and the rest are asked to implement it by the end of 2016.
"Much of the high-quality arable land around large and medium-sized cities has not yet been designated as permanent basic farmland. It is a pressing problem that the expansion of cities is encroaching on prime farmland," said the notice.
"During rapid urbanization, high-yield farmland has been gradually 'eaten' by steel and cement," said MLR minister Jiang Daming, adding that the consequences could be grievous.