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sustainable agriculture, China agricultural, food production


China has a rich history of agricultural production practices involving the intensive and regenerative use of her soil and other natural resources. The challenge of having to feed a population in excess of 1 billion people that continues to grow and has become more well-to-do, especially in the last decade, is awesome. Because of intense pressure for added food production, China has been forced to shift toward the heavy use of externally-produced, purchased inputs to complement her traditional internally-produced inputs and farming practices. China's farming communities that once were largely self-sufficient now have many, varied linkages with the "outside world." Between 1965 and 1988, for example, the total industrialized energy used in China's agriculture increased by nearly 14 times. China is now the world's largest user of manufactured fertilizers. Chinese farmers currently purchase and use 2.5 times as much inorganic fertilizer per hectare per season as farmers do in the U.S. The overall energy intensity of Chinese agriculture, as measured by the kilo-calories of industrial energy consumed per kilogram of foodgrain produced, is now comparable with that in the U.S.


Department of Economics, South Dakota State University

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