2008-03-04 19:22:34 Xinhua English
BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) - In an effort to control the surging inflation rates, especially soaring food prices, and maintain social stability, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told governments at all levels here Wednesday to provide a steady and adequate food supply to the country's 1.3 billion population.
China will "adhere to the system of provincial governors assuming responsibility for the 'rice bag' (grain supply) program and city mayors for the 'vegetable basket' (non-staple food supply) program," Wen told the nearly 3,000 deputies to the National People's Congress in his government work report.
In fact, China's grain output rose four consecutive years to top 500 billion kilograms in 2007. But last year's consumer price index (CPI) rose by 4.8% year-on-year, mainly due to large increases in the cost of food and housing.
Listing the current price hike as one of the issues affecting the vital interests of the people, Wen admitted that "the current price hikes and increasing inflationary pressures are the biggest concern of the people."
Wen set forth the target controlling this years CPI rise at around 4.8 percent, because "factors driving prices up are still at work, upward pressure on prices will remain great this year. In addition, prices of the means of production have continued to rise and real estate prices have risen steeply, making the task of holding down inflation difficult."