Beijing has directed local governments to replace farmland designated for development with equal-sized plots of farmland elsewhere, Reuters reported, citing state media. The policy, to take effect in 2009, is part of an effort to maintain arable land area of at least 121 million hectares by 2010 and 120 million hectares by 2020. Implementation and enforcement details were not released, but officials will be required to reclaim an equivalent area of farmland before receiving authorization to develop existing arable plots. Military and major national infrastructure projects will be exempt from the policy.
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