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China has launched its first ever agricultural survey which involved 230 million rural households in approximately 800,000 villages. The survey, said He Huanyan, an official with the national agricultural survey office, is expected to enable China to obtain an accurate account of the total area of the country's farmland for the first time. "The survey will retrieve information on the number and educational levels of rural residents as well as what trades they are engaged in," said Huanyan.
Beijing has earlier tried several schemes to boost agricultural production and raise the area of land currently under cultivation, but unsuccessfully. The present survey, which required a three-year preparation period, will detail the number and profitability of foreign funded agricultural firms in the country.
The interviewing and double-checking of the survey statistics which would last for about a month, would lead to a national data-bank on China's agricultural resources. Surveys in remote places like the provinces of Yunnan, Xinjiang and Qinghai, the autonomous regions of Ningxia and inner Mongolia had already started in October 1996, to avoid inclement wintry weather.