Stories tagged: China

Harnessing Technology for Food Security

Ensuring food security in China, the world’s most populous nation, requires concerted efforts by the central and local governments as well as the private sector. From raising farm productivity to improving food safety, steering China’s millions of farmers towards agricultural technology is key in achieving self-sufficiency.

Since 2003, CropLife China has joined with the National Agri-Technical Extension and Service Center (NATESC) of the Ministry of Agriculture and multiple provincial plant protection stations to help farmers raise yields in a sustainable manner. Programs on sustainable agriculture include the responsible use of crop protection products, secure storage and environmental protection through the management of empty containers.

In Xinglong, in the province of Sichuan, the program is a unique partnership between the town government, plant protection stations run by agriculture departments, the local women’s farmer group and CropLife China. It covers an area of up to 2,000 mu, or 133 hectares, promoting pest prevention and control technologies including resistant varieties, cultivation methods, biodiversity and responsible use of pesticides.

Working with four other people, 40-year-old Wang Jian farms about a quarter of a hectare of land, including several greenhouses. He has participated in several training programs on responsible pesticide use. After 20 years of farming, he sees the difference effective crop protection products can make.

Now we use environmentally friendly and more effective pesticides, which cost less and increase our income.

To date, 100,000 farmers in areas such as Guanghan, Zengcheng and Shiping have benefited from the training. Each year, CropLife China and its partners also train some 80 doctors to identify, treat and prevent future cases of pesticide- related incidents.

Visit www.croplifeasia.org to learn more about work towards sustainable agriculture across the Asia Pacific region.

ICTSD Publishes Two New Papers on Climate Change and Agriculture

The ICTSD-IPC Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade has published two new papers highlighting climate change mitigation strategies in agriculture.

Agricultural Technologies for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Developing Countries: Policy Options for Innovation and Technology Diffusion

This report highlights the technological and institutional innovations required to meet the challenges of food security, agricultural development and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Whilst new traits and varieties of crops are noted as important innovations, the paper puts equal emphasis on the need for relevant practice and technologies such as water management, post-harvest technologies, information services and forecasting, and farmer insurance.

The paper also explores the constraints to the development of innovations and their transfer and dissemination to farmers, and suggests ways to overcome such constraints. Those most significant barriers are named as poorly functioning input or output markets, weak local institutions and infrastructure, inadequate extension systems, and absent credit and insurance markets.

The authors propose six policy principles to aid farmers’ access to new technologies, which prioritise a globally-connected yet locally-relevant approach to climate change mitigation strategies.

Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector: An Overview of Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation

This paper examines the challenges facing China: economic development, eliminating poverty, ensuring long-term food security, adapting to climate change and mitigating the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. The report notes that Chinese farmers have been making progress in implementing adaptation strategies, which include changing cropping patterns, increasing investment in irrigation infrastructure, using water saving technologies and planting new crop varieties that are resistant to the effects of climate change.

The Chinese government have also been investing in important mitigation activities. The paper reports on a new technology that the government is promoting, that regulates fertilizer dosage according to soil type, to combat an overuse of fertilizer by many farmers. Additionally, the government is urging farmers to practice conservation tillage as a means to create carbon sinks.

Hope in a Changing Climate: Restoring Ecosystems to Support Sustainable Agriculture

Hope in a Changing Climate’ was screened at the COP 15 climate change summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. The 30-minute documentary, produced by the Environmental Education Media Project, demonstrates the enormous potential of activities to rehabilitate damaged ecosystems around the world. The film features interviews with world leaders and uses case studies from China, Ethiopia and Rwanda where ecosystem restoration efforts have helped to significantly improve the sustainable economic, social and agricultural activities of the community.  

This is an uplifting piece of research that identifies how changing the way that land is used and conserving vegetation can help to stabilise climate change, reduce poverty and support sustainable agriculture. 

Picture 4

China, Taiwan Partner for Agriculture Initiative

TAIW0001Over the weekend mainland China and Taiwan produced a common initiative on cooperation in the agriculture sector.  More than 220 officials, experts and representatives from agriculture, fishery and water resources joined the meeting. Chinese state media Xinhua has more:

The two sides will promote the development of new-type agriculture, encourage cooperation in agricultural biotechnology industry, and work to set up a long-standing consultative mechanism on agricultural cooperation, said the common initiative produced by the symposium, held first in Shanghai and then Zhejiang.

Both sides are pushing for this to be a shared venture, where information on agriculture passes freely between the mainland and Taiwan. Sharing knowledge is one of the key principles which Farming First supports and this initiative exemplifies how this can be done on a grand scale:

The two sides will also establish a reporting mechanism to share information on the quality and safety of agricultural products, said the initiative.

According to Xinhua, the symposium was co-sponsored by 10 NGOs from both the mainland and Taiwan.

‘Science Gap’ Shrinks Globally, but Least Developed Countries Still Far Behind

Recent data released by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics(UIS) indicates that the global technology gap has been shrinking from 2002 to 2007, but the poorest countries still lag far behind.

According to a recent article on scidev.net by its director David Dickson, global trends indicate that emerging economies such as China, India, and Brazil are accelerating their domestic research capacities.  China alone has increased the number of its researchers by more than three-fourths and has more than doubled its R&D spending.

These countries’ growth has helped pull the developing world as a whole to growth levels which are three times those of the developed world.  But areas like Sub-Saharan Africa have experienced more moderate growth, with the number of researchers increasing only 18% vis-a-vis total population growth, and Arab states’ R&D contributions are actually falling. The least developed countries, which host 12% of the population, have less than one percent of the world’s researchers.

If these research trends continue, countries such as India and China will become global leaders by the year 2025, at which point they are expected to account for more than one-fifth of total R&D expenditures.

And the technology gaps are still quite profound.  The developed world has only one-fifth of the population, yet accounts for three-quarters of total spending.  While part of this discrepancy might be the result of incomplete or non-existent data reporting on the part of certain developing countries, it also indicates the need for continued efforts to bridge the technology gaps which still exist globally.

Chinese Vice Premier Calls for International Cooperation to Promote Sustainable Agricultural Development

1205801580794_1205801580794_rIn a speech at a recent conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists, Chinese Vice premier Hui Liangyu called for a continued global focus on agricultural production, according to a Xinhua article, especially in light of the fact that increased demand and resource constraints put pressure on global supplies:

Pressure is mounting to ensure food safety worldwide, especially effective food supply for developing countries, as global population has been snowballing and more agricultural products are being turned into energy.

Calling this effort “the world’s common task”, Hui discussed how China’s agricultural production has evolved since Deng Xiaoping opened up China’s economy to market forces in 1978.  He also outlined some of the next steps that China intends to take to further promote its farmers:

In the new situation [sic], China will further strengthen rural system construction, develop modern agriculture, promote rural public causes ad push forward new countryside construction.