The Chinese government on Wednesday urged greater effort to ensure the smooth agricultural production needed to sustain growth in the world\'s second-largest economy, amid multiple events that have pummelled the farming industry. In an executive meeting of the State Council headed by Premier Li Keqiang, the cabinet underlined the importance of agriculture, describing it as the \"foundation of the national economy and key insurance of stabilizing growth, controlling inflation and preventing risks.\" The rural economy has been running smoothly since early this year, but agricultural production still faces difficulties, according to a statement released after the meeting. Floods in China\'s northeast, which is the country\'s farming heartland, and droughts in the northwest and southwest will hurt output, while falling pig prices, tight supply of beef and mutton, and the outbreak of H7N9 influenza will also weaken the industry. The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit Lushan County in southwest China\'s Sichuan Province also dealt a blow to regional agricultural production. Sichuan is China\'s major pig raising base. To cope with these challenges, efforts must be made to ensure stable supply and prices, according to the statement. The meeting stressed the importance of smooth spring farming, encouraging the use of machinery in ploughing to boost output and lay foundations for developing modern agriculture. The cabinet also pledged to raise the minimum purchase price of corn, and increase pork reserves to prevent steep falls in prices. Facilities to raise flocks and herds should be standardized and improved. More subsidy funds should be allocated to major producers to boost beef and mutton supplies, it urged. The government also vowed harsher punishment for fake meat production.