China's top policy priorities in 2014 are food security, rural environment -Xinhua

BEIJING Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:52am EST

BEIJING Jan 19 (Reuters) - China's top policy priorities for 2014 will be improving the rural environment and maintaining food security, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a key policy document due to be released on Sunday.

The "number one document", issued every January by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, sets the country's policy priorities for the year, and has focused on rural matters every year since 2003.

Beijing has been preoccupied with cleaning up urban pollution following a spate of severe smog problems, but has also acknowledged that the industrial contamination of water and soil, together with the overuse of pesticides and fertiliser has caused severe environmental problems in the countryside.

The fight against rural pollution is also part of China's efforts to ensure it has enough farmland, water and rural labour to feed a growing urban population without having to turn to overseas markets. (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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