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The 12th Five-year Plan on Shanghai’s Modern Agriculture

The Shanghai Municipal Information Office held a press conference on the 12th Five-year Plan and its implications for Shanghai’s modern agriculture on December 21. These are highlights of the press conference.

Sun Lei: Director of Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission

Eastday.com:Two questions for Mr. Sun. First, we know that Shanghai has launched an insurance system on the price of off-season vegetables, which is the first in the country. Could you please elaborate on the current situation after its launch? Besides, will there be some promotion measures in the future, such as expanding the vegetable varieties covered? Second, besides the price insurance system, will there be any other innovative measures for the agriculture industry launched during the 12th Five-year Plan in Shanghai?

Sun Lei:Actually we are forced by the reality to launch the insurance because our farmers have to carry great risk when planting off-season vegetables. Therefore, we established the price insurance system to guarantee their basic benefit and arouse farmers' enthusiasm. The insurance is carried out by Anxin Agricultural Insurance Corporation, and the government provides the subsidy. Now the insurance cost is about 100 yuan per mu (666.7 square meters) of farm land, and the municipal government covers 50%, the district and county governments over 40% and farmers themselves cover 10%.

For this year, there are altogether 150,000 mu of land involved in the insurance, with a total insurance premium of about 12 million yuan (US$1.9 million), and the company has paid more than 8 million yuan in compensation. Vegetable farmers just paid about 1 million yuan of the premium, but received 8 million yuan in compensation; insurance companies on the other hand, still got a good profit through the insurance. For our government: if the farmers are satisfied, we are satisfied.

From this winter, we will have some improvements, including prolonging the off-season period for one month, adding new vegetable varieties and improving compensation.

For the second question, we are still exploring innovative measures during the 12th Five-year Plan. For example, we are now establishing three agricultural supervision platforms. The first is the Rural Village Group Property and Fund Supervision Platform, which was opened on December 20; the second is the Agricultural Subsidy Supervision Platform that we have been working on since last year; the third is the Land Transferring Information Administration Platform, and so far more than 60% local farmland have been involved in the platform.

With this platform, we can ensure the safe and orderly operation of rural group properties and funds and make more benefits for our farmers.

Shanghai Morning Post:Two questions for Mr. Sun. First, is there any measure to strengthen supervision on agricultural product safety during Shanghai’s 12th Five-year Plan of modern agriculture? Second, how will the Agricultural Commission improve the supervision on vegetable sales and quality safety in the future?

Sun Lei:The Agricultural Commission is highly concerned about the quality safety supervision on agricultural products and has made efforts to guarantee the quality and safety for years. We have overcome three major challenges in recent years — the first was during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as there was also a game zone in Shanghai, and that was the first challenge we had faced in agricultural product supply; the second was last year’s World Expo, as we guaranteed all the agricultural products' safety in various fields successfully; the third was this year’s FINA Championships in Shanghai, and we also did our job well.

Actually, our examination can only find out the problem but cannot completely eradicate the problem. So we have to work on the origin first.

Therefore, we are now carrying out the certification system of agricultural product quality and safety. Secondly, our government will improve supervision. For example, under the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, this year we established a quality and safety supervision system on agricultural products on town level in Langxia Town, Jinshan District, and in the next year we’ll expand the system to more districts and counties. Thirdly, we will strengthen the examination, including surprise checks and regular checks. Fourthly, we will improve the analysis and estimation on potential dangers of agricultural product quality and safety. Of course we cannot ensure 100% that no problem will occur, but we can take positive measures when the problem really happens to prevent it from happening again.

In the near future, we will mainly carry out some measures on pesticide control. We have already ruled that the pesticide we use must be highly effective and with low poison content. Besides, we also regulate that the pesticide usage must be recorded by a specific person, and the safety period of pesticide use also needs to be considered, because it can easily cause the build-up of high pesticide residues.

Shanghai Evening Post:I have two questions on environmental protection. First, do we have any new measures on preventing pollution caused by the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers? Second, we used to ban burning wheat straw in suburban areas during the World Expo last year. Will this regulation continue to ensure air quality?

Sun Lei:First of all, agriculture is actually a low-carbon industry, and we also have a lot of measures in our 12th Five-year Plan. First, we will strictly control the use of chemical fertilizers; second, we will promote the use of green fertilizers and organic fertilizers; third, we will combine vegetable planting and livestock breeding and thereby create an opportunity to turn animal excrement into fertilizer.

Now for the second question, about the environment. We did ban wheat straw burning during the World Expo, and after the Expo we carried out a comprehensive regulation on using wheat straws together with other government departments. For example, we coordinated with the Municipal Development and Reform Commission and decided on a policy subsidy for those who dispose the wheat straws. Therefore, anyone who collects and uses wheat straws without polluting the environment will get a subsidy of 200 yuan per ton. Besides, the government also offers a subsidy for straw disposal equipment, and the amount is 30% of the price, but we also have a limitation on the price of each equipment, which should be lower than 5 million yuan. Furthermore, our government also provides a subsidy on deep land digging, which is 45 yuan per mu.

In the future, we aim to increase the usage rate of wheat straw to more than 90%, and we will completely ban wheat straw burning.

Farmers’ Daily:During the 12th Five-year Plan, how will the provenance agriculture develop in Shanghai? What’s the city’s current level now in our country? What elements are now supporting the development of Shanghai’s provenance agriculture?

Sun:It’s a very professional question. In Shanghai, we have limited land, but very good support structures, including funds, finance, talents and technologies. Under this condition, we are always discussing about how to produce more in limited land resources.

Now we decide to concentrate on developing provenance agriculture, which enjoys the highest added value in the agricultural industry. Judged from the current situation in Shanghai, we have some special features and advantages in the germplasm resource of vegetables domestically. For example, the eggplant researched by the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Science has taken the place of imported varieties in Shandong Province, where eggplants are widely planted.

Besides, our paddy rice also enjoys a leading position as ours can save 50% of water, which is very suitable for dry regions.

In the future, we will pay more attention in developing provenance agricultural enterprises with independent intellectual property rights and innovation abilities. During the 12th Five-year Plan, we hope that we can establish one or two such enterprises, and we will also keep developing new varieties and new fields. That’s the key point that we will support in the following period.