Xi Jinping urges China’s northeastern breadbasket to step up efforts to overhaul agriculture and industry

During a tour of the region last week, he urged the country’s northeastern provinces to “firmly grasp domestic innovation” while stressing that their primary role was to ensure the grain supplies.

However, Xi told a meeting of top-level national and provincial officials in Harbin city on Thursday that the country’s current push for modernisation and self-reliance presented “new and great opportunities”, according to Xinhua news agency.

He highlighted the region’s “rich resources, solid industrial foundations, favourable geographical location and significant development potential”, and urged cadres to boost industrial innovation and modernise agriculture.

“The real economy is the foundation, technological innovation is the key, and industrial upgrading is the direction,” he said.

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Xi also repeated a message he has delivered on previous trips to Heilongjiang, which borders Russia, stressing its critical role in ensuring the country’s food security.

“Ensuring the country’s food security should be placed as the top priority, [and the region] should accelerate its modernisation of agriculture and rural areas, increase production capacity to ensure that the grain production and supply are enough to meet usual demand, and can be used as a reliable supply source during extreme circumstances,” he said.

Recent floods in Heilongjiang have threatened this year’s harvest in China’s breadbasket. Photo: Xinhua

Beijing has rolled out a series of measures in recent years to boost food supplies, including a nationwide campaign to reclaim arable land and huge investment in supporting domestic seed breeders to produce better-performing crop species.

At the Thursday meeting, Xi also stressed the importance of building local infrastructure to aid in the country’s efforts in opening up, with the region playing a key role in reaching out to neighbouring countries.

The meeting was attended by two other Politburo Standing Committee members Cai Qi and Ding Xuexiang, vice-premier He Lifeng, Zheng Shanjie, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and top cadres from the three northeastern provinces – Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang – as well as neighbouring Inner Mongolia.

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He also visited Harbin Engineering University, where he stressed the importance of boosting the country’s technological self-reliance and military science sector.


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