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  1. Rural Land Registration in China Dr. Yang Zhao March 10, 2009 · Washington DC Conference on Land Governance in Support of the MDGs: Responding to New Challenges

  2. Content A Why did China need rural land registration? B How did the FAO/WB pilot project go? C What are the conclusion and next steps?

  3. A Why did China need rural land registration? B How did the FAO/WB pilot project go? C What are the conclusion and next steps?

  4. 1. Land Rights • The current rural land institution in China has been gradually established and improved since 1978 when China launched the opening and reform policy • It featured as “collective-owned and household-contracted (leased)”

  5. 1. Land Rights (Cont’ed) • Ownership: two kinds • Urban: state owned • Rural: collective owned • Rural land contract (use) right • possessed by 200,160,000 agricultural production units

  6. 2. Achievements made by household-based land contract system • Bidding farewell to a long-term agricultural products shortage • Stably producing enough food to huge population within limited resources • 21% of global population • 9.0% of global arable land • 6.5% of global water resources

  7. Figure 1: China’s Grain Production (1978-2008) Unit: 50 million Kg

  8. 2. Achievements made by household-based land contract system (Cont’ed) • Increasing farmers’ income • On average, the real growth rate of farmers’ income reached 7.1% in the past three decades • The Engel coefficient of rural residents went down to 43% now from 68% in 1978

  9. Figure 2: Net Income of Chinese Farmers (1978-2008) Unit: Yuan (USD 1= RMB 6.83 yuan)

  10. 2. Achievements made by household-based land contract system (Cont’ed) • Incidence of rural poverty declined immensely • UNDP: It can never be overemphasized to give China a higher evaluation when taking consideration of the China’s contribution to fulfill the MDG • Without China's progress in reducing poverty, the world poverty reduction in general is moving backwards

  11. 2. Achievements made by household-based land contract system (Cont’ed) • The agricultural investment increased significantly • Total agricultural machinery power increased 5.5 times • Agricultural mechanization level increasing from 20% in 1978 to 41% now • Effective irrigation area is 1.2 times of that in 1978 • The contribution rate of science and technology to agricultural growth increased to 49% in 2007 from 27% in 1978

  12. 3. Reasons for piloting rural land registration • Insufficient protection of farmers’ land rights • Unclearly identified rural collective land ownership • Incomplete and unreliable land contract right information on the documents • Segmented rural land registration system • Rural land ownership: Ministry of Land & Resources • Rural land contract right: Ministry of Agriculture • Inconsistent with the “open-ended” land contract • No. 1 Document (1984) "rural land contract term of 15 years“ • No. 11 Document (1993) “rural land contract term extension of 30 years“ • “Open-ended” land contract from 3rd Session of the 17th Central Meeting • How to make the land contract certificate be in line with the new policy?

  13. A Why did China need rural land registration? B How did the FAO/WB pilot project go? C What are the conclusion and next steps?

  14. 1. Project Initiation • Initiated by Vice Minister Xiwen Chen from Office of Central Leading Group on Rural Works, GOC, WB and FAO jointly explored the feasibility to conduct the pilot project on rural land registration in 2004 • FAO officially approved the “China Rural Land Registration and Certification Piloting Project” in July 2005 • The national PMO was set up in Center for Rural Development Policy, China Agricultural University (Beijing) in August 2007

  15. 2. Project Workshops • Jan. 20-21, 2007: Start-up workshop(Beijing) • Oct. 23-24, 2008: Mid-term Review Workshop (Feidong County, Anhui Province) • Jan. 18, 2009:Completion Workshop (Beijing)

  16. 3. Study Tours • The study tour helped learn the international experiences on rural land registration • Invited by WB, a Chinese Delegation led by Vice Minister Xiwen Chen conducted a study tour in US and Canada and met with WB President in March 2006 • Supported by WB and FAO, the PMO staff conducted a study tour in Australia and Indonesia in August 2006 • Assisted by ESRI Canada, the PMO staff conducted a study tour to Canada in November 2008

  17. 4. Project Preparation • Recruited specialists in the field of economics, land survey and registration, public information and law • The domestic LandStar Company jointly worked with ESRI (Canada) and ILS (US) to develop the project IT system in 2007 and completed the rural land contract right registration system in 2008 • Drafted the Project Operational Manual

  18. 5. Pilot Selection • In July 2008, the pilot area was finally determined in two villager groups in Huolong Village, Shitang Township, Feidong County, Anhui Province • The pilot project working group and its office as well as the local PMO were set up in September 2008 • The baseline survey and capacity building carried out by China Agricultural University in September 2008

  19. 6. Systematic First Registration • During Sept. to Nov., 2008, the NJAU survey team conducted the land survey, cadastre identification and adjudication in the pilot areas • During Oct. to Dec., 2008, the local PMO digitalized all land survey and cadastre information of 787 land parcels from 78 farmer households

  20. 7. Project Outputs • Survey and adjudication • formed the adjudicated parcel maps after precise land surveying • Land Registration • Digitize the land parcel and survey information into the IT system • Manual • Operational Manual for China Rural Land Registration and Certification

  21. 7. Project Outputs (Cont’ed) • Report • Country Strategic Report on Rolling-out the Rural Land Registration • Further pilot • Promote the proposal to implement a bigger scale rural land registration pilot in 1-2 counties in Anhui Province

  22. A Why did China need rural land registration? B How did the FAO/WB pilot project go? C What are the conclusion and next steps?

  23. 1. Basic Conclusion • Time is ripe for it • Policy concern: consistent with the policy tendency • Legal concern: Property Law identified the rural land contract right as a sort of property rights • Farmers concern: positively participate in the rural land registration • Organizational concern:supported by relevant governmental agencies • Technical concern: experiences and TAs from international communities

  24. 2. Facing Challenges • Need a huge amount of funds • direct registration cost is between 33 - 47 yuan (USD 5 - 7) per land parcel in pilot • More than 1 billion land parcels engender a huge cost • Sectoral partition in urban and rural land management, coupled with the different agencies taking charge of various land utilization categories, pose an obstacle to the land registration • Hardly “one-size-fits-all” due to the huge regional disparity

  25. 3. Next Steps • Employing a phased process to roll out may take several years to several decades • Phase I: Bigger scale pilot • Phase II: Coastal and peri-urban areas • Phase III: Remaining rural areas

  26. Thank you! Dr. Yang ZHAO Deputy Director-General General Office of Central Leading Group On Rural Works National Project Coordinator FAO-funded China’s rural land registration piloting project E-mail: yangzh@drc.gov.cn