China plans to earmark 152.1 billion yuan (US$21 billion) in agriculture-related fixed assets investment from its central budget this year.
The move is part of efforts to shore up agricultural development plagued by surging inflationary pressure and the persisting snow disaster, a senior official said yesterday.
Du Ying, deputy minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, which is in charge of planning or approval of major investment projects, said the figure represented an increase of 21.7 billion yuan over 2007, up 16.6 percent.
He said the fund was expected to help remedy the hard-hit agriculture production and secure farmers' incomes against the rising inflationary pressure.
Early next month, the final central budget arrangement will be approved by the country's top legislative body. The central government plans to put nearly 74 billion yuan, or 49 percent of the total, into rural infrastructure upgrading, an increase of 21.7 billion yuan from a year ago, Du said.
The commission plans to invest seven billion yuan in safe drinking water projects to benefit 32.05 million rural residents, he said.
The country will also spend 20.3 billion yuan to expand rural roads in the country.(Xinhua)