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Recent Policy on Management of Rural Land Contract
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Zhen Zhong

Assistant Professor

School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development

Renmin University of China


Background and main content of policy

In 2012, the CPC Central Committee asked if it could improve the steady and orderly manner of the relations involved in rural land contracts and develop large-scale operations.

The CPC Central Committee’s Opinions on “Accelerating Innovation in Agricultural Science and Technology and Continuously Intensifying the Capacity to Ensure Supply of Agricultural Products” clearly asked to amend and improve relevant laws in an accelerated way; the policy of keeping existing land contract relations steady and unchangeable for a long time would be implemented; following the principles of conformity to law, voluntary consent and compensation, the authorities would guide the transfer of land management rights for the sake of the development of various forms of appropriate large-scale operations in order to promote innovation in agricultural production and marketing models; pilot programs on registration of rights to manage contracted land in rural areas that would be expanded in a steady manner; amend the Land Administration Law in an urgent manner to improve articles concerning the acquisition of rural collective land and to establish a strict and standardized regime for rural land administration.

Implementation of policy and evaluation

In accordance with the CPC Central Committee's requirements, agricultural authorities at various levels vigorously put into practice laws and policies on rural land contract. Consequently, the relations involved in rural land contracts were further stabilized; positive progresses were made in registration of rights to manage contracted land in rural areas; land transfer was carried out in a steady and orderly manner; in addition, a trend of concentration to new-type subjects of agricultural management appeared.

1) Pilot programs on registration of rights land in rural areas were carried forward steadily. A meeting of the leading group of the MoA and a symposium were held on pilot programs on registration of rights to manage contracted land in rural areas. The work instructions (trial) for pilot programs on registration of rights to manage contracted land in rural areas were printed and distributed in the name of the MoA's General Office. Four training courses of pilot programs on registration were held and played a positive role in improving the quality of registration. Meanwhile, publicity about pilot programs on registration was strengthened and supervision of pilot programs was organized. In 2012, across the 50 counties under the pilot program, 230 townships, 1,642 villages and 18,170 villager units had generally completed the reorganization of land contract archives and the verification of the areas and locations of contracted land. Thanks to those efforts, register books and a land contract management information system had tentatively come into shape, covering 653,000 households and 529,070 hectares of farmlands.

2) Pilot programs on management and services for transfer of rights to manage contracted rural land were energetically carried out. In accordance with the State Council's requirement, the MoA assigned 33 counties in 30 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) throughout the country to perform pilot programs on standardized management and services. A scheme for pilot programs on standardized management and services for transfer of rights to manage contracted rural land was distributed in the name of the MoA's General Office. In those counties hosting pilot programs, a number of jobs were carried out with focus on exploring and establishing an access regime and a risk prevention mechanism for industrial and commercial enterprises to rent and use rural households' contracted land, building and improving a market for transfer of management rights of contracted land, and supporting and fostering subjects of appropriate large-scale operations with the priority given to rural households.

By the end of 2012, a total of 1,853,333 million hectares of household-contracted farmland changed hands, marking a 22% increase from the previous year and accounting for 21% of the total acreage of household-contracted farmland, up to 3.5%. Farmland transferred between rural households accounted for 65% of all transferred farmland which had signed contracts. Service centers for farmland transfer were set up in over 13 000 townships of over 800 counties.

3) More efforts were made to enhance the mediation and arbitration of disputes over rural land contracts. In 2012, MoA centered on strengthening the construction of the arbitration system, developed the infrastructure of arbitration, formulated the program for development of the arbitration system, and made more efforts to build an arbitration workforce. Obvious achievements were made in mediation and arbitration of disputes.

By the end of 2012, a total of 2,259 arbitration councils for rural land contract disputes had been set up across the county, including 2,055 county-level councils covering 79.8% of the agriculture-related counties (cities) all over the countries. A total of 20,776 arbitrators were employed with 9 arbitrators per council. The capability of mediating and arbitrating disputes was constantly enhanced. By the end of 2012, a total of 545,100 rural land contract disputes were settled nationwide with 431,600 by mediation and 113,500 by arbitration.

Date submitted:Nov. 5, 2014

Received, edited and uploaded: Nov. 10, 2014


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