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Agriculture in China: The industrial mirage

Authors : Marie-Hélène SchwoobWith / 08th of October 2015

China’s agricultural modernization model is today faced with significant limitations in terms of social and environmental sustainability. The change in trajectory, which will be difficult, will not come about without a recognition of smallholders. [...]

Food supply security is a priority issue for China. The risks associated with the strategy that would involve relying on increasingly volatile global markets to feed over a billion people prompt the Government to maintain high objectives for national agricultural production in its successive 5-year plans. However, these objectives are difficult to achieve due to the scarcity of the country’s resources. Indeed, with only 7% of arable land, China needs to feed almost 20% of the world’s population. In addition, the country has a relatively low amount of water resources, which are unevenly distributed over a territory that has vast desert areas (Gobi Desert) and where the north-east is marked by recurring droughts (which are expected to worsen due to climate change). [...]

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