BEIJING -- China on Saturday released guidelines on green development in agriculture, setting goals for resource conservation and environmental protection.
The guidelines were published by the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council.
The country should maintain the area of arable land and prevent the land quality from worsening, according to the guidelines.
By 2020, farmland quality should be improved by 0.5 grade on average, while the total arable land area should be no less than 124 million hectares.
China grades its farmland quality on a scale of one to ten.
The government aims to prevent excessive exploitation of groundwater and improve the efficiency of irrigation.
The document set the target of zero growth in the amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in major crops by 2020. Forest coverage is to exceed 23 percent.
The comprehensive production capacity of grains should be stabilized at or above 550 million tons by 2020, with the quality of farm produce markedly improved.
Straw, animal waste and agricultural plastic film should be fully utilized, according to the guidelines.
The agricultural sector remains resource-intensive, with pollution and ecological degradation yet to be contained, while the supply of high-quality and green farm produce cannot satisfy growing demand, the document said. Agriculture should be more sustainable, farmers better off, and the countryside more beautiful and liveable.