To regulate and promote the effective rural land circulation as a requirement of modern agricultural development in China, on 26 January 2021 the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) released the Administrative Measures for Rural Land Use Right Circulation. The official document will come into effect on 1 March 2021.
The new measures are developed in reference to China’s Rural Land Contract Law enacted in 2003 and amended in 2018 by the People’s Congress of China.
On 3 February 2021, officials from MARA held a press conference, answered questions from journalists and delivered concrete interpretations of the new measures. Comparing with the Administrative Measures for Rural Land Contract and Management Right Circulation released by MOA in 2005，the new measures added new countermeasures in following three respects:
- Clearly defined the “three rights” of rural land and their separation for transfer of rights to different stakeholders. The regulation clearly defined the “three rights” of rural land, namely the collective ownership, the household land contracting right, and the land use and management rights. Based on the definition of three rights, the new regulation focuses on the circulation of the land use and management rights without changing the collective land ownership and household land contracting rights. Concrete measures are added to equally protect the interests of rural households as contracting right holders and the incentives of land use entities who obtained the land management rights through circulation contracts. Such arrangement will promote the land management right circulation and ensure effective use of land resources.
- Strengthened and regulated the supervision and approval procedures for land management right contractors. Following the requirements of the Rural Land Contracting Law, the new regulations set up specific measures to supervise and approve the land management rights circulation and contracting procedures which will allow industrial and commercial enterprises and other social investors obtaining land management rights. The regulations also require to establish a risk prevention system to protect the rights and interests of both parties engaged in the land use right circulation.
- Added new countermeasures to strengthen farmland protection and food security. The regulations urged to ensure the circulated farmland must be used for agricultural production purposes, particularly for grain crops production. The local government authority will strictly implement a supervision and approval mechanism to ensure that circulated farmland is used for agricultural purposes. The land use and management entities are obligated to protect the contracted farmland and not change the basic crop cultivation farmland to non-crop production purposes, such as conversion to forestland or fish ponds, etc.
To guarantee the smooth implementation of the measures, MARA urges local governments to establish an effective land management rights circulation and land property right trading market system, set up operational rules, and carry out land rights circulation policy consultation, provide information services, supervise transaction and contract signing procedures, etc.