China has cleared the way for private investment in large-scale farming, announcing a change in land rights that heralds a new era for agriculture in the world’s most populous nation, the Financial Times reports. The move to corporate farming is designed to solve two of the pressing problems of the Chinese countryside – a rapid increase in elderly farmers and poor yields from the country’s hundreds of millions of small plots – while accommodating the ruling Communist party’s opposition to individual private land ownership. China prohibits buying and selling of agricultural land, a prohibition at odds with Beijing’s objective of consolidating millions of tiny plots into large-scale farms. Now, through a refinement called “land management rights”, a village may collectively transfer its land to a corporation in return for yearly payments.
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