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Agriculture in China

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Agriculture in China

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1. The characteristics of China’s agriculture

1.1. The per capita land resource is limited

According to statistics, China's per capita homeland area is only 0.8 hm2, 29% of the world average. Arable land actually owned by the country is about 130 million hm2, 0.073 hm2 per capita, less than 1/4 of the world per capita. Moreover, hills and mountains accounts for nearly 2/3of the total land area, and the low-yielding fields accounts for 2/3 of the total arable land area. In recent years, due to soil and water loss, the land degradation, the industrial occupancy and other reasons, the cultivated area is still declining.

1.2. Severe water shortage

China has been listed as one of the 13 water-poor countries. The per capita possession of water resource amount in China is only about 2,200m3, 1/4 of the world average. Currently, per capita possession of water resources in 18 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government) is lower than the per capita level of 2000m3 proposed by the United Nations. And the per capita level of 10 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government) is lower than 1000 m3, which are areas with serious shortage of water. It is expected that Chinese population will reach a peak of l.6 billion in 2030, and at that time the per capita possession of water resources will decline to 1,760m3.

1.3. Large regional differences in agricultural resources

The topography of China shows three steps from the west to the southeast in general, whose names are the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Loess Plateau, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and the Inner Mongolia Plateau, and eastern plains and hilly area. Different areas have huge differences in soil, climate and other natural conditions. China has agro-climatic diversity, which almost covers boreal, temperate, warm temperate, subtropical and humid, semi-arid and arid climates. Meanwhile, China’s climate also show the phenomenon of rain and heat in the same season, and flood season precipitation accounted for 60% to 80% of the total annual rainfall, which is the same period with the highest temperature. Therefore, China’s agriculturehas eight kinds of agriculture; and forestry, animal husbandry and fishery production areas are obvious different; and the farming system is mainly dominated by one crop a year, three crops every two years, and two crops a year.

1.4. Frequent natural disasters

The interaction of the monsoon climate and continental climate induce frequent droughts and floods in China. Of losses caused by natural disasters, meteorological disasters accounted for about 60%. According to the statistics of the past 50 years, the average annually affectedly area of national farmland is about 34 million hm2, 32.5% of the total cultivated area; disaster damaged area is 14million hm2, 14% of the total cultivated area, and the grain reduction caused by disasters were from 12.5 billion to 15 billion kg. Among them, area of droughts and floods accounted for about 81% of the meteorological disasters and typhoons, hail, dry hot wind, frost and north sandstorms also brought very serious impacts on agricultural production.


2. Preferential policies for agriculture

Food security is always an overall major strategic issue related to the national economic development, the social stability and the national independence. As a developing agricultural country and a country with a large population, China’s grain production is not only important for China, but also an important stabilizer for the stability of the world grain production, which can ensure the global food security. In recent years, affected by variety of factors, the global food production is showing a declining trend, and the world has inevitably entered the era of "high food price", at the same time,food-deficit countries and food-insecure populations are still increasing. In China's situation, with the population growth, the reductionof arable land, and the accelerated development of industrialization and urbanization, and the further increased pressure on resources and the environment, the state of "tight balance” of food supply and demand has become increasingly prominent. The pressure faced by food security further increases. Therefore, it is necessary to further strengthen the food security capacity, and ensure that food production meets market demand.

2.1. Major policy orientation

“Issues of agriculture, rural area and farmers" are overall, fundamental, long-term problems in the process of China's modernization, and important and difficult problems of building a well-off society in an all-round way. Since 2004, the Government of China had issuedNine No. 1 documentsfor nine consecutive years about agriculture, and making systematic deployment for agriculture and rural development. At the same time, series of preferential agriculture policieswere developed with "three-relief and four-subsidy" as the main content, and formed the guiding ideology principles, and policy system of “agriculture, rural area and farmers” works in the new era. From 2004 when the Chinese government implemented a series of preferential agricultural policy of agricultural tax reduction or exemption, up to 2005, nearly 800 million farmers have directly benefited from them. From December 2005 when the decision of abolishing Agricultural Tax Regulations of the People’s Republic of China was adopted till the overall abolition of agricultural tax in 2006, the burden of handing out ¥133.5 billion was took off from farmers' shoulders.

2.2. Subsidies policies

In recent years, the Chinese government has released a series of policies and measures to stabilize the production of food and agricultural products. Policies to boost food production include granting direct subsidies of ¥202.5 per hectare to grain-growing farmers, and comprehensive agricultural subsidies of ¥1,153.5 per hectare, and granting seed subsidies of ¥150 to ¥225 per hectare to rice production farmers, and granting minimum grain purchase pricing policy. We implement seed subsidies of ¥150 per hectare of the acreage to farmers planning "double low" rapeseed. We implement strict farmland protection policy and abandoned land accountability system, and implement major grain-producing county incentives. Through the implementation of relevant policies, which initially formed the "four subsidies” system of direct subsidies for grain, seed subsidies, farm machinery purchase subsidies, the subsidy amount has increased year by year.In order to speed up the development of the aquaculture industry, a lot of policies have been introduced and implemented such as give subsidies to counties which are big dealers of pig trade, and ¥100 subsidies and¥1,000 insurance for per head of reproducing sow, culling subsidy of ¥10 for per head of avian flu infected livestock, killing subsidy of ¥600 for each head of pig with disease, as well as the policy of one-time grant of ¥500,000 to large-scale ecological farm which meets the governments standards. To accelerate the development of modern agriculture and the substantially increase in labor productivity in agriculture, the state government has increased the subsidies for agricultural machinery purchase, which focus on subsidies for rice production mechanization, and the mechanization of oilseeds and cash crops, fruit industry, animal husbandry and fishery production. At the same time, the country has also substantially increased the investment in irrigation and water conservancy facilities, and the infrastructure construction of cultivated land, and promoted the steady improvement in overall agricultural production capacity. The Introduction and implementation of a range of support and benefit agriculture policies have vigorously promoted the development of agriculture, and provided solid policy support for the production of food and agricultural products.


3. China’s agriculture development achievements in the past decade

Agricultural production has overcomes many obstacles such as the restraint of arable land and water resource, meteorological disasters and biohazards, the increasing cost of both material and labor, the impact of international elements on both production and market, and achieved "eight consecutive years increasing" for the first time in the past fifty years, and expects to have harvest for the ninth time and the total grain output stabilized at more than 500 billion kg in five consecutive years for the first time, which stepped on the new level of 550 billion kg for the first time, and not only making tremendous contributions to China, but also to the world’s food security, and the grain production has become the highlight of economic and social development.

3.1. Major agricultural products production

As protected and supported by a range of agricultural supporting and benefiting policies, the agricultural development in China has made remarkable and tremendous achievements in the past 10 years, and achieved the target of “the Chinese people feeding themselves”. Under the premise of speeding up the process of industrialization and urbanization, arable land decreasing year by year, and ensured the basic needs of the resident’s food consumption and the economic and social development on foods. Since 2004, the communist party of China central Committee and the State Council have taken a series of policy measures to protect arable land, such as purchase foods at the protection price through market, tax relief, establish the system of direct subsidies, increase the investment, and mobilize the enthusiasm of farmers to grow grain, and food production achieved recovery growth, and all the above mentioned measures have laid a solid foundation for the realization of the total output’s “increase for eight consecutive years’. By 2011, as China’s grain output has reached 571.2 billion kg, China has had harvest for 8 consecutive years for the first time in half a century, and stabilized at more than 500 billion kg for five consecutive years for the first time, per capita share of grain is more than 452 kg for the first time, and the food self-sufficiency rate remains stable at 95%, and the production of three grains of rice, wheat and corn is more than 500 billion kg for the first time, which are important contributions to food security not only for China, but also for the world. During the consecutive 8 years, China’s unit grain yield increased by 55.6%kg, with average annual increase since the founding of New China. At the same time, cottonseed oil, sugar, fruit, vegetable, tea, meat, eggs, aquatic products and other major agricultural products have also achieved a comprehensive yield increase, which is the first time in recent 16 years.

3.2. Farmers’benefits

While food and agricultural products production made historic breakthroughs, the income of the farmers grow rapidly in 8 consecutive years, and the per capita annual net income of them increased from ¥2,622.2 in 2003 to ¥6,977 in 2011, an average annual growth of 10%, which is a period of fastest growing since 1985. Rural poverty population has substantially reduced, and China has become the first country in the world to achieve the MillenniumDevelopment Goals of halving of the abjectpoverty population. The quality of life of farmers is significantly improved, such as the level of consumption is constantly improved, the life of the peasants bids farewell to lack of food and clothing, and the farmers have achieved overall well-off, and is marching forward to a comprehensive well-off society. The dietary pattern of rural residents is constantly improving, and the food consumption is becoming more diverse, and the proportion of grain consumption is gradually reduced, while the consumption of meat, poultry, eggs, milk, aquatic products and edible oil is increasing year by year, and as a result the nutritional condition of farmers continuously improve.

3.3. Agricultural infrastructure

In the past decade, with the enhancement of comprehensive agricultural production capacity, the ability to combat floods and droughts, the improvement of material and equipment, and the land and water resources utilization efficiency, China’s agricultural infrastructure construction has undergone an unprecedented development. Currently, national effective irrigation area is 60.67 million hm2, accounting for about 50.6% of the arable land; area with high yield in flood and drought is 42.67 million hm2, about 35% of the arable land. Since 2005, the central government has invested a total of ¥5.7 billion for soil testing and fertilizer fund, and conducted “health check” for 93.33 million hm2 arable land, and designed ”nutrition package” for 80 million hm2 of crops. 170 million households of farmers benefited from these and the demonstration area’s grain output increased by 6% to 10%. At the same time, we cumulatively arrange ¥52.97 billion funds, to subsidy the purchase of 16,720,000 units (sets) of all kinds of farm machineries, and14,890,000 farmers and households benefited from these and the national farm machineries total power grew by 61%. With high-powered, multi-function, high-performance and agricultural machineries rapid growth, farm machinery and equipment structure is constantly optimized. In 2011, China’s farming integrated mechanized rates reached 54.5%, and the wheat production basically realized full mechanization.

3.4. Enhancement of agricultural disaster prevention and relief capability

In face of frequent occurrence of various natural disasters, in the past decade, by taking the principles of “initiative for disaster prevention, effective disaster prevention and positive relief”, we have adjusted the crop area layout, which changed from confrontational planning to adaptive planting, and conducted active disaster prevention. In order to combat disasters, several measures had been taken, such as strengthened disaster monitoring and forecasting, released warning information in timely manner, formulated and improved disaster prevention and mitigation plans, and prepared material, financial and technical recourses ahead of time. In recent years, crop pests and the animal disease prevention and the control technology have continued to make new progress, especially the creation of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N2 inactivated vaccines, recombinant H5N1 inactivated vaccine successfully developed in recent years are in a leading position in the world, which had been effectively putting the occurrence of animal diseases under control. At present, the country has established 180,000 prevention and control organizations, which employed nearly 1 million people, with daily operation capacity of more than 200,000 hm2. Through systematic specialized unified prevention and unified control, the pest control and prevention operation efficiency increased by more than 5 times, and the yield of each hectare of rice can be increased more than 750 kg, and wheat yield can be increased by 450 kg, while the time of spraying pesticide can be reduced by 1 or 2 times, and the volume of pesticide use can be reduced by more than 20%.


4. Agricultural science and technology support and lead the development of modern agriculture

China has placed agricultural technology innovation in a prominent position in the agricultural and rural work. The consecutive nine No.1 documents released by the Central Government since 2004 systematically deployed the work of agricultural science and technology. For 10 years, the Government of China, based on the new era’s agricultural and rural economic development situation, have proposed agricultural science and technology development route, principles and policies which meet the requirements of the times. The Central Government specified the strategic tasks of changing agricultural development mode, and accelerating the development of modern agriculture, and established the basic direction walking on the path of agricultural modernization of Chinese characteristics and proposed objectives and requirements of the overall strength of agricultural science and technology entering the world forefront, and issued a series of important policies and measures, and continuously push forward the reform and development of agricultural science and technology. Under the guidance of central government’s major policies, Chinese agricultural science and technology work has made considerable progress, for example, the agricultural science and technology institutional mechanism made continuous innovation, the agricultural science and technology innovation achievements are fruitful, the agricultural promotion service level is significantly upgraded, the agricultural talents training has new progress, and agriculture science and technology foundation conditions continue to improve.

4.1. Technology's contribution to agricultural growth

In order to achieve steady development of grain, relying on continuous decreasing arable land and water resources, or constantly increasing chemical fertilizers and pesticides is unsustainable, the fundamental way to solve this problem is to improve yields through technological innovation. During the past 10 years, China's agricultural and rural independent innovation capability improved significantly, and their supporting lead role for the development of modern agriculture is obviously enhanced. In 2011, the agricultural science and technology contribution rate reached 53.5%. The seed cultivation make new breakthroughs, and the good crop seed coverage is more than 95%, and the contribution rate of seed to grain production is more than 40%, and the contribution rate of grain unit yield increase to total production increase reach 85.8%. The promotion and application of modern agricultural equipment, agriculture information technologies have rapid development, and the crop mechanized farming level increase 52%. The successful development of the livestock and poultry vaccines and drugs enable major animal disease to be continuously and effectively controlled, and ensuring the continued stability and health of animal husbandry development.

4.2. Agricultural basic research and high-tech research

The agricultural basic research and high-tech research have made breakthrough progresses. Rice and other agricultural biotechnology genomics research continue to occupy the leading position in the international field, and a batch of important trait genes of rice yield, good quality, stress tolerance and nutrition and efficiency have been cloned. The world's first detailed map of the genome of vegetable crops - detailed map of the cucumber genome was published. The draw of the world's first full genome sequence map of the cultivated shellfish was finished. The technologies of animal and plant molecular and cellular breeding techniques have entered the application stage. The studies of heterosis utilization technologies continue to achieve new breakthroughs, through application of this technology. A batch of new varieties of super rice and corn with yield of more than 12,000 kg/hm2 and new variety of wheat with yield over 9,750 kg/hm2were successfully cultivated. By the application of modern biotechnology, swine pseudorabies gene deletion flag vaccine, H5Nl reassortant vaccine, Asia I foot-and-mouth disease genetically engineered vaccine with leading standards in the world were developed.

4.3. Agricultural plant and animal breeding techniques

Agricultural animal and plant breeding technology continues to expand, greatly advancing the process of breeding of new varieties. Modern biotechnologies such as cell engineering, molecular marker, and transgenic breeding have rapid technological development, accelerating the breeding method to transfer from phenotypic selection to genotypic selection, morphological feature selection and physiological characteristics selection, which gradually forming perfect breeding technology system, and improving breeding efficiency of new varieties of crops and agricultural animals. In recent years, over 2,600 fine varieties of crops such as super rice and double low rapeseed, as well as more than 130 new varieties of agricultural animals such as high-quality pigs, beef cattle, and laying hens were cultivated and promoted. "Y Liangyou No. 2"super rice's unit yield made breakthrough of 13,500 kg/hm2, "Xundan 20” corn’s unit yield exceeded 15,000 kg/hm2. "Jimai 22" wheat unit yield is up to 1,835 kg/hm2. These new varieties are continuously promoted and applied in production, which provides effective support for increasing grain yield and ensuring national grain production capacity."Huanong Wen's No. I" pig combination's annual promotion is more than 10 million heads. Cumulative promotion of new varieties of laying hens "Beijing Red", "Beijing Pink" in recent three years is one billion, accounting for 30% of market share of domestic hens. The breeding and application of new varieties have promoted the rapid development of biological seed industry, grain, cotton, oil, vegetables seeds with independent intellectual property rights in China accounted for more than 80% of the market share of the seeds. The main crop seeds production capacity reaches 8 billion kg, basically meeting the needs of agricultural seeds use.

4.4. Agricultural produce high quality and efficient production technology

Agricultural products high and stable production technology makes constant innovation. By measures of strengthening water and fertilizer management, improving farmland productivity, and improving farming and cultivation methods, remarkable results had been achieved, such as the high yield and efficient cultivation of rice, pollution-free and high yield corn cultivation, high yield and efficient cultivation of wheat and summer corn of two crops of a year in Huanghuai Area, crops yield record of single-season rice yield of rice and wheat double cropping system in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River of more than 13,500 kg/hm2, double-season rice high yield research unit yield of 19,878 kg/hm2, Huang-Huai-Hai Areas' wheat yield of 11,279 kg/hm2, winter wheat/summer maize double cropping yield of over 25,500 kg/hm2, and Northeast China spring corn contiguous yield of 17,753 kg/hm2. At the same time, the techniques oflivestock and poultry and aquatic nutrient regulation, feed productionand disease prevention and healthy farming have made important progress. We integrated low pollution and no drug residues livestock and aquatic animal premixed feed formulationtechnology, and high-quality functional animal production premixed feed formulationtechnology, forming corresponding technology modes.

4.5. Transformation and promotion of agricultural scientific and technological achievements

Agricultural technology transformation and promotion capacity is enhanced year by year,Township or regional agricultural extension agents are basically established, and agriculturalpublic service system in the country is basically improved. Through carrying out professionaland social services as unified prevention and unified control, trans-district mechanicalharvesting, the Government of China had promoted technology activities as grain and oil yield creation, science andtechnology entering villages and households and other science in large scale, which promotedthe popularization and application of practical technologies of disaster prevention andmitigation and production stabilization and increase. In recent years, the central government organized experts to develop sub-regional, sub-seasonal and sub-crop production technology guidance. In the springfarming, as "three summer", "three autumn’and other key faming seasons, expertsand agricultural technicians from research institutes and universities were organized to go deeply in the fieldto conduct technical guidance, and supply various forms of technical training and consultingservices, which promotes science and technology entering villages and households, and delivertechnology to the people and the field. In 2011, in order to provide "zero-distance” face-to-face technical services to farmers, the central government formulated and promulgated 14 major technicalprograms, and sent more than 110 working and expert groups, consist of more than 10,000specialists and 350,000 agricultural extension workers to the field. In 2012, the state issued two disaster prevention plans of mitigation, and yield stabilizing and increase key technologies good method subsidy policy, for which the central budget arranged subsidize capital of ¥4.46 billion to support the promotion of major key technologies such as "one spraying and three prevention" for winter wheat, concentrated early rice seedlings in the South, Northeast rice greenhouse seedling and corn anti-drought "water sowing’, Southwest and Northwest corn plastic sheet cultivation, rape 'one promotion and four prevention , which achieved agricultural production support policies' breakthrough from "linked field compensation’to "linked technology compensation’. The policies greatly mobilize the enthusiasm of farmers to apply advanced practical technologies, and effectively promoting the stable development of grainproduction.