BEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) -- China has reaped a bumper summer grain harvest despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, an encouraging achievement for a country whose population of 1.4 billion means food security is of paramount importance.
President Xi Jinping has on many occasions stressed the importance of food security, saying that "the rice bowl of the Chinese people, in any situation, must be firmly held in our own hands."
Early this year when the COVID-19 epidemic hit, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, urged all-out efforts to organize spring plowing while taking differentiated anti-epidemic measures, so that farmers would not miss the farming season and a good summer harvest would be guaranteed.
The following facts and figures indicate the nation's accomplishments in summer grain production and the efforts behind them:
-- China's summer grain output reached a historic high of 142.81 million tonnes this year, up 0.9 percent from last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
While the total area used to grow summer crops declined 0.7 percent year on year to 26.17 million hectares this year, the average output per hectare rose 1.6 percent, leading to the overall output increase, the NBS said.
-- As the world's top food producer and consumer, China saw its grain output reach a record high of 664 million tonnes last year, the 16th bumper year in a row. The record-breaking summer grain harvest has paved the way for another bumper year.
-- In 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded, the national grain output was only 113 million tonnes.
-- A 100-day project was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) in March aimed at securing a good summer grain harvest. Among its targets was keeping the rate of loss due to meteorological disasters under 5 percent, with the same target for losses due to disease and pests.
More than 1.6 billion yuan (about 229 million U.S. dollars) was allocated from both the central and local budgets for the prevention and control of wheat diseases and pests during the implementation of the project.
-- China aims to develop 80 million mu (5.33 million hectares) of high-standard farmland that is well facilitated this year. By the end of June, the target was 54 percent complete, according to the MARA.
China aims to develop 1 billion mu of such farmland in total by 2022 with a reliable grain output of 500 million tonnes.