China's top economic planner said Tuesday it would raise the minimum state purchasing prices for rice in major farming areas by up to 3.3 percent this year. The state purchasing prices for early and mid-and-late indica rice will be raised to 2.7 yuan (44.3 U.S. cents) per kg and 2.76 yuan per kg, while that for japonica rice will be set at 3.1 yuan per kg, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in an online statement. The move is aimed to "protect farmers' enthusiasm in growing grain and boost output," the NDRC said. Ensuring food security remains one of the government's major priorities this year. "Taking control of its own bowl is a fundamental principle the government must stick to over a long period of time," according to China's first policy document of 2014, which centers on rural reform. Last year, China's grain output gained 2.1 percent year on year to hit 601.94 million tonnes, marking the 10th consecutive year for increased production. However, despite the bumper harvest, analysts have cautioned of challenges China faces to meet the growing demand of its billion-plus population, including shrinking arable land amid the country's urbanization drive and land pollution due to excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers. To ensure grain security, the Chinese government has pledged to speed up the transfer of rural land and offer more subsidies to family farms and farmers' cooperatives in an effort to develop large-scale farming.