New law on black soil protection comes into force

Xinhua Updated: 2022-08-02

CHANGCHUN -- A law on black soil protection, formulated as part of efforts to ensure China's grain security and protect the ecosystem, took effect on Monday.

The law, passed by the country's top legislature on June 24, consists of 38 provisions, and specifies the responsibilities of the government and "agricultural production operators" to protect the black soil.

It also stipulates harsher punishment for those who cause pollution or soil erosion in black soil areas in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and calls on state farms to make greater contributions to black soil protection efforts and set a fine example.

The black soil, or chernozem soil, found in China's northeastern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning and in some parts of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, produces about a quarter of the country's total grain output, making it crucial to China's food supply.

However, excessive reclamation has eroded the soil's nutrients and its chernozem layer is thinning out, posing a threat to the country's ecological security and sustainable agricultural development.

In recent years, the growing use of modern agricultural technology and equipment, and better protection of black soil in the northeastern region have helped increase grain output and safeguard food security.

China has been promoting conservational tillage, increased the application of organic fertilizer, and adopted maize and soybean rotation planting techniques to protect black soil. Straw mulching is a significant technique employed by the conservation program.

The conservational tillage areas have been extended to more than 80 million mu (about 5.3 million hectares).

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Finance have jointly released an action plan (2020-2025) for protective tillage on black soil, with the program due to cover an area of 9.33 million hectares by 2025, or 70 percent of the total arable land in suitable areas of northeast China.

Yang Qingkui is a grain farmer from Lishu County in northeast China's Jilin Province. The county is situated in the heart of the black soil regions of China.

Yang, who has practiced conservational tillage for many years, said that the land has gradually turned fertile and the grain yield has steadily increased.

Li Baoguo, dean of the land science and technology college of China Agricultural University, said the new law will serve as a model for improving the legal system for farmland protection in China and play an important role in ensuring national food security and ecological protection in the country.

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