China passes new law to strengthen black soil protection

Updated: Sep 22, 2022 chinadaily.com.cn Print
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China's top legislature on Friday passed a law on black soil conservation, as part of efforts to ensure the country's grain security and protect the ecosystem.

The law, adopted after a vote at the closing meeting of the 35th standing committee session of the 13th National People's Congress, addresses the country's need for measures designed to specifically protect the black soil.

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.

Consisting of 38 provisions, the law specifies the responsibilities of the government and "agricultural production operators" to protect the black soil.

The law requires that black soil should be used in growing farm produce including grains, oil crops, sugar crops, and vegetables, while strict protection must be provided for the black soil that has been designated as part of the country's "permanent basic farmland" to ensure stable grain yields and quality.

Stipulating a surveying and monitoring system for the soil, the law says that when governments at or above the county level conduct land surveys, a similar survey on the distribution, quantity, quality, protection and other aspects of the black soil should meanwhile take place to establish a "black soil archive."

Stressing that fiscal spending on black soil protection shall be ensured, the law says that governments at or above the county level should earmark funds for black soil protection in their budgets and report their work on black soil protection to people's congresses of the corresponding level or the standing committees of the people's congresses.

The country encourages the participation of social capital and protects the rights and interests of those investing in the protection of the black soil, according to the law.

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 asks state farms to contribute more to black soil protection efforts and set a fine example.

The law will take effect on Aug 1, 2022.

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