Greening of China’s agriculture: a synthesis

This report reviews current agricultural policies in China and their role in support of China’s broader environmental goals. The policies reflect an expansion of agricultural policy objectives to better manage China’s limited and overburdened natural resources. The report anchors its discussion of current policy with a description of past policies and past technology choices, emphasizing their impacts on land, water, and air. Collectively, these decisions launched a remarkable period of expansion for China’s farm sector but left the country’s ecosystems scarred and natural resources depleted. The authors review how a growing agricultural sector contributed to economic growth, poverty reduction, and the transformation of China’s economy, labor markets, and farm structure, and the consequences of those changes for the sector, for new production technology choices, and for agricultural policy. The authors then discuss the evolution of China’s broader environmental goals and link them to changes in agricultural policy designed to mitigate the effects of agricultural pollution and resource use while meeting a growing demand for agricultural products.