According to domestic law, farmland is collectively owned, but meted out to farmers in small plots in long term leasing contracts. The new measures adopted are seen by economists as a major breakthrough in land reforms initiated by late leader Deng Xiaoping 30 years ago, which will avail farmers of opportunities to conduct scale management and new business operations.
When the document was drafted, some have argued that the new policy might create a few landlords and many landless farmers who will have no means for a living. And arable lands to be used for non-farming purposes, might threaten the country's food safety.
To ease such fears, the CPC Central Committee also provided in the document that the country would carry out "the most stringent farmland protection system" and urged local authorities to firmly safeguard the 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares) minimum farmland set line.
China is facing a sharp conflict between land supply and demand. The area of arable land shrank 610,100 mu in 2007 to 1.826billion mu, only slightly above the government's set target.