China has 7.34 million hectares of “reserve land” that can be developed into arable land, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a research report published Monday.
The reserve land mainly lies in dry areas in the northern and western parts of the country, according to the report.
But Yan Zhiyao, head of the arable land protection department of the ministry, said it would be a mistake for China to rely on large-scale development of the reserve land.
China should improve the quality of arable land rather than increase the quantity, he said.
To ensure grain security, China has set a “red line” to guarantee its arable land never falls below 1.8 billion mu (120 million hectares). China is edging close to the “red line,” with just 1.826 billion mu available, government data showed in February.