China to provide wider farm insurance coverage

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A State Council executive meeting Friday decided to provide wider farm insurance to help farmers fend off risks and stabilize income from grain production.

The meeting was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang and said 500 counties in 13 major grain production provinces would have insurance for planting rice and wheat. It will cover costs for seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, land, labor, and losses from natural disasters, plant diseases, and insect pests, among others. The insurance for those planting corn will cover losses due to price and output fluctuations.

The meeting decided to provide a one-time subsidy to farmers growing major grains to cushion them from sharp price increases of farming supplies and stabilize their income. The total subsidy amount will be around 20 billion yuan (about 3.11 billion U.S. dollars).

The meeting urged financial institutions to cut fees further to help micro and small enterprises and individual business owners lower their costs.

Measures including reducing online payment and bank card processing fees for merchants will lighten the burden on enterprises and people by 24 billion yuan, the meeting said.

The meeting stressed accelerating the development of affordable rental housing to meet the basic housing needs of migrant workers and university graduates, among others.

The meeting also passed a draft revision of China’s population and family planning law and decided to submit it to the National People’s Congress for deliberation.