HistoryThe development of farming over the course of has played a key role in supporting the growth of what is now the largest population in the world. Analysis of stone tools by Professor and others has shown that s 23,000–19,500 years ago ground wild plants with the same tools that would later be used for millet and rice. Remains of domesticated have been found in northern China at , , , , and several sites. These sites cover a period over 7250-6050 . The amount of domesticated millet eaten at these sites was proportionally quite low compared to other plants. At Xinglonggou, millet made up only 15% of all plant remains around ; a ratio that changed to 99% by 2050-1550 BCE. Experiments have shown that millet requires very little human intervention to grow, which means that obvious changes in the archaeological record that could demonstrate millet was being cultivated do not exist. Excavations at , the earliest known site in eastern China, have documented rice cultivation 7,700 years ago. Approximately half of the plant remains belonged to domesticated , whilst the other half were wild types of rice. It is possible that the people at Kuahuqiao also cultivated the wild type. Finds at sites of the Culture (5500-3300 BCE) in and near include and spade-like tools made of stone and bone. Evidence of settled rice agriculture has been found at the Hemudu site of Tianluoshan (5000-4500 BCE), with rice becoming the backbone of the agricultural economy by the in . According to the ' some female prisoners in historic times were given the punishment to be "grain pounders" ( zh, c=刑舂) as an alternative to more severe corporal punishment like tattooing or cutting off a foot. Some scholars believe the four or five year limits on these hard labor sentences began with 's legal reforms. There is also a long tradition involving . In his book Permanent Agriculture: Farmers of Forty Centuries (1911), Professor described and extolled the values of the traditional farming practices of .Paull, John (2011
Farming method improvementsDue to China's status as a and its severe shortage of arable land, farming in China has always been very . However, throughout its history, various methods have been developed or imported that enabled greater farming production and efficiency. They also utilized the to help improve on row farming. During the (722–481 BC), two revolutionary improvements in took place. One was the use of and to pull plows, and the other was the large-scale harnessing of rivers and development of projects. The engineer of the 6th century BC and of the 5th century BC are two of the oldest hydraulic engineers from China, and their works were focused upon improving systems.Needham, Pt. 3, p. 271. These developments were widely spread during the ensuing (403–221 BC), culminating in the enormous engineered by by 256 BC for the in ancient . For agricultural purposes the Chinese had invented the hydraulic-powered by the 1st century BC, during the ancient (202 BC-220 AD).Needham, Pt. 2, p. 184. Although it found other purposes, its main function was to pound, decorticate, and polish grain that otherwise would have been done manually. The Chinese also innovated the square-pallet by the 1st century AD, powered by a or pulling on a system of mechanical wheels.Needham, Pt. 2, pp. 89, 110. Although the chain pump found use in of providing water for urban and palatial ,Needham, Pt. 2, p. 33. it was used largely to lift water from a lower to higher elevation in filling irrigation s and s for .Needham, Pt. 2, p. 110. During the (317–420) and the (420–589), the and other international trade routes further spread farming technology throughout China. Political stability and a growing labor force led to economic growth, and people opened up large areas of wasteland and built irrigation works for expanded agricultural use. As land-use became more intensive and efficient, rice was grown twice a year and cattle began to be used for and . By the (618–907), China had become a unified feudal agricultural society again. Improvements in farming machinery during this era included the and . Later during the (1271–1368), cotton planting and weaving technology were extensively adopted and improved. While around 750, 75% of China's population lived north of the river , by 1250, 75% of the population lived south of the river. Such large-scale internal migration was possible due to the introduction of quick-ripening strains of rice from Vietnam suitable for multi-cropping. This is also possibly the result of Northern China falling to invaders. With the hardships that come from conflict, many Chinese may have moved South to not starve. The Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties had seen the rise of collective help organizations between farmers. In 1909 US Professor of Agriculture made an extensive tour of China (as well as Japan and briefly Korea) and he described contemporary agricultural practices. He favourably described the farming of China as 'permanent agriculture' and his book '', published posthumously in 1911, has become an agricultural classic and has been a favoured reference source for advocates. The book has inspired many farmers in China to conduct .
People's Republic of ChinaFollowing the 's victory in the , control of the farmlands was taken away from landlords and redistributed to the 300 million peasant farmers, including . In 1952, gradually consolidating its power following the civil war, the government began organizing the peasants into teams. Three years later, these teams were combined into producer cooperatives, enacting the goal of collective land ownership. In the following year, 1956, the government formally took control of the land, further structuring the farmland into large government-operated collective farms. In the 1958 "" campaign initiated by , land use was placed under closer government control in an effort to improve agricultural output. In particular, the had a direct negative impact on agriculture. Collectives were organized into , private food production was banned, and collective eating was required. Greater emphasis was also put on instead of agriculture. The farming inefficiencies created by this campaign led to , resulting in the deaths of somewhere between the government estimate of 14 million to scholarly estimates of 20 to 43 million. Although private plots of land were re-instated in 1962 due to this failure, communes remained the dominant rural unit of economic organization during the , with Mao championing the "" campaign. Tachai's semiliterate party secretary was among those outmaneuvered by after the death of Mao: from 1982–1985, the -style communes were gradually replaced by . Beginning in 1978, as part of the campaign, the Family Production Responsibility System was created, dismantling communes and giving agricultural production responsibility back to individual households. Households are now given crop quotas that they were required to provide to their collective unit in return for tools, draft animals, seeds, and other essentials. Households, which now lease land from their collectives, are free to use their farmland however they see fit as long as they meet these quotas. This freedom has given more power to individual families to meet their individual needs. In addition to these structural changes, the Chinese government also engages in projects (such as the ), runs large state farms, and encourages and use. By 1984, when about 99% of farm production teams had adopted the Family Production Responsibility System, the government began further economic reforms, aimed primarily at liberalizing agricultural pricing and marketing. In 1984, the government replaced mandatory procurement with voluntary contracts between farmers and the government. Later, in 1993, the government abolished the 40-year-old grain rationing system, leading to more than 90 percent of all annual agricultural produce to be sold at market-determined prices. Since 1994, the government has instituted a number of policy changes aimed at limiting grain importation and increasing economic stability. Among these policy changes was the artificial increase of grain prices above market levels. This has led to increased grain production, while placing the heavy burden of maintaining these prices on the government. In 1995, the "Governor’s Grain Bag Responsibility System" was instituted, holding provincial governors responsible for balancing grain supply and demand and stabilizing grain prices in their provinces. Later, in 1997, the "Four Separations and One Perfection" program was implemented to relieve some of the monetary burdens placed on the government by its grain policy. As China continues to industrialize, vast swaths of agricultural land is being converted into industrial land. Farmers displaced by such urban expansion often become for , but other farmers feel disenfranchised and cheated by the encroachment of industry and the growing disparity between urban and rural wealth and income. The most recent innovation in Chinese agriculture is a push into .Paull, J
Major agricultural products
Crop distributionAlthough China's agricultural output is the largest in the world, only 10% of its total land area can be cultivated. China's arable land, which represents 10% of the total arable land in the world, supports over 20% of the world's population. Of this approximately 1.4 million square kilometers of arable land, only about 1.2% (116,580 square kilometers) permanently supports crops and 525,800 square kilometers are irrigated. The land is divided into approximately 200 million households, with an average land allocation of just 0.65 hectares (1.6 acres). China's limited space for farming has been a problem throughout its history, leading to chronic food shortage and famine. While the production efficiency of farmland has grown over time, efforts to expand to the west and the north have met with limited success, as such land is generally colder and drier than traditional farmlands to the east. Since the 1950s, farm space has also been pressured by the increasing land needs of industry and cities.
Peri-urban agricultureSuch increases in the sizes of cities, such as the administrative district of 's increase from in 1956 to in 1958, has led to the increased adoption of . Such "suburban agriculture" led to more than 70% of non-staple food in Beijing, mainly consisting of vegetables and milk, to be produced by the city itself in the 1960s and 1970s. Recently, with relative food security in China, periurban agriculture has led to improvements in the quality of the food available, as opposed to quantity. One of the more recent experiments in urban agriculture is the Modern Agricultural Science Demonstration Park in .
Food cropsAbout 75% of China's cultivated area is used for food crops. is China's most important crop, raised on about 25% of the cultivated area. The majority of rice is grown south of the , in the delta, and in the , , and provinces. is the second most-prevalent grain crop, grown in most parts of the country but especially on the , the and valleys on the , and in , , and Sichuan provinces. and are grown in north and northeast China, and s are important in and . Other crops include sweet potatoes in the south, white in the north (China is the largest producer of potatoes in the world), and various other fruits and vegetables. Tropical fruits are grown on , s and s are grown in northern and . Oil seeds are important in Chinese agriculture, supplying edible and industrial oils and forming a large share of agricultural exports. In North and Northeast China, Chinese soybeans are grown to be used in tofu and cooking oil. China is also a leading producer of peanuts, which are grown in Shandong and Hebei provinces. Other oilseed crops are , , , and the seeds of the . is a major cash crop in southern China, with production scattered along and south of the Yangtze River valley. are the most popular citrus in China, with roughly double the output of oranges. Other important food crops for China include and s (popular among the Chinese population), (as an export), , and s. Tea plantations are located on the hillsides of the middle Yangtze Valley and in the southeast provinces of and . Sugarcane is grown in and Sichuan, while sugar beets are raised in province and on irrigated land in Inner Mongolia. is widely cultivated throughout southern China. is grown in the southwestern province of . Much smaller plantations also exist in and .
Fiber cropsChina is the leading producer of , which is grown throughout, but especially in the areas of the North China Plain, the Yangtze river delta, the middle Yangtze valley, and the . Other fiber crops include , , , and . , the practice of silkworm raising, is also practiced in central and southern China.
LivestockChina has a large livestock population, with and being the most common. China's pig population and pork production mainly lie along the Yangtze River. In 2011, Sichuan province had 51 million pigs (11% of China's total supply). In rural western China, , s, and s are raised by . In Tibet, s are raised as a source of food, fuel, and shelter. , , s, s, and s are also raised in China, and has recently been encouraged by the government, even though approximately 92.3% of the adult population is affected by some level of . As demand for gourmet foods grows, production of more exotic meats increases as well. Based on survey data from 684 Chinese s (less than half of the all 1,499 officially registered s in the year of the survey, 2002), they sold over 92,000 tons of turtles (around 128 million animals) per year; this is thought to correspond to the industrial total of over 300 million turtles per year. Increased incomes and increased demand for meat, especially pork, has resulted in demand for improved breeds of livestock, breeding stock imported particularly from the United States. Some of these breeds are adapted to .
FishingChina accounts for about one-third of the total fish production of the world. , the breeding of fish in ponds and lakes, accounts for more than half of its output. The principal aquaculture-producing regions are close to urban markets in the middle and lower Yangtze valley and the Zhu Jiang delta.
ProductionIn its first fifty years, the greatly increased agricultural production through organizational and technological improvements. However, since 2000 the depletion of China's main aquifers has led to an overall decrease in grain production, turning China into a net importer. The trend of Chinese dependence on imported food is expected to accelerate as the water shortage worsens. Despite their potential, find few customers because it is still cheaper to over-utilize rivers, lakes and aquifers, even as these are depleted. As of 2011, China was both the world's producer and consumer of agricultural products. However, the researcher Lin Erda has stated a projected fall of possibly 14% to 23% by 2050 due to water shortages and other impacts by climate change; China has increased the budget for agriculture by 20% in 2009, and continues to support energy efficiency measures, renewable technology, and other efforts with investments, such as the over 30% green component of the $586bn fiscal stimulus package announced in November 2008. In 2018: * It was the 2nd largest world producer of (257.1 million tons), second only to the USA; * It was the largest world producer of (212.1 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (131.4 million tons); * It was the 3rd largest world producer of (108 million tons), second only to Brazil and India; * It was the largest world producer of (90.2 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (62.8 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (61.5 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of / (56.2 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (53.0 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (39.2 million tons); * It was the largest world producer of (34.1 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (33.1 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (24.7 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (23.8 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (22.2 million tons); * It was the largest world producer of (19.9 million tons); * It was the largest world producer of (19.0 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (17.9 million tons); * It was the 3rd largest world producer of (17.7 million tons), second only to India and the USA; * It was the largest world producer of (17.3 million tons); * It was the largest world producer of (16.0 million tons); * It was the 4th largest world producer of (14.1 million tons), losing to the USA, Brazil and Argentina; * It was the largest world producer of (13.3 million tons); * It was the 2nd largest world producer of (13.2 million tons), second only to Canada; * It was the largest world producer of (12.9 million tons); * It was the largest world producer of (12.7 million tons); * It was the 8th largest world producer of (12 million tons), which serves to produce and ; * It was the 2nd largest world producer of (11.2 million tons), second only to India; * It was the world's largest producer of and (10.6 million tons); * It was the 2nd largest world producer of (9.1 million tons), second only to Brazil; * It was the world's largest producer of (8.1 million tons); * It was the largest world producer of (7.9 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (6.7 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of and (6.6 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (4.9 million tons); * It was the 15th largest world producer of (4.9 million tons); * It was the 2nd largest world producer of (including and ) (4.8 million tons), second only to India; * It was the world's largest producer of (3.0 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (2.9 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (2.6 million tons); * Produced 2.5 million tons of ; * It was the 3rd largest world producer of (2.4 million tons), second only to India and Mexico; * It was the world's largest producer of (2.2 million tons); * It was the 8th largest world producer of (2.1 million tons); * It was the world's largest producer of (2.0 million tons); * It was the largest world producer of (1.9 million tons); * It produced 1.9 million tons of ; * Produced 1.8 million tons of ; * It was the 3rd largest world producer of (1.5 million tons), second only to India and Niger; * It was the 8th largest world producer of (1.5 million tons); * Produced 1.4 million tons of ; * It was the largest world producer of (1.1 million tons); * It was the 6th largest world producer of (1 million tons); * It was the 4th largest world producer of (1 million tons), second only to Germany, Poland and Russia; * Produced 1 million tons of ; In addition to smaller productions of other agricultural products.
Inefficiencies in the agricultural marketDespite rapid growth in output, the Chinese agricultural sector still faces several challenges. Farmers in several provinces, such as , , , , and often have a hard time selling their agricultural products to customers due to a lack of information about current conditions.
International tradeChina is the world's largest importer of s and other food crops, and is expected to become the top importer of farm products within the next decade. While most years China's agricultural production is sufficient to feed the country, in down years, China has to import grain. Due to the shortage of available farm land and an abundance of labor, it might make more sense to import land-extensive crops (such as wheat and rice) and to save China's scarce cropland for , such as fruits, nuts, or vegetables. In order to maintain grain independence and ensure , however, the Chinese government has enforced policies that encourage grain production at the expense of more-profitable crops. Despite heavy restrictions on crop production, China's agricultural exports have greatly increased in recent years.
Governmental influenceOne important motivator of increased international trade was China's inclusion in the (WTO) on December 11, 2001, leading to reduced or eliminated tariffs on much of China's agricultural exports. Due to the resulting opening of international markets to Chinese agriculture, by 2004 the value of China's agricultural exports exceeded $17.3 billion (US). Since China's inclusion in the WTO, its agricultural trade has not been to the same extent as its trade. s within China are still relatively closed-off to foreign companies. Due to its large and growing population, it is speculated that if its agricultural markets were opened, China would become a consistent net importer of food, possibly destabilizing the . The barriers enforced by the Chinese government on grains are not transparent because China's state trading in grains is conducted through its Cereal, Oil, and Foodstuffs Importing and Exporting Corporation (COFCO).
Food safetyExcessive pesticide residues, low food hygiene, unsafe additives, with and other contaminants and misuse of veterinary drugs have all led to trade restrictions with some nations such as Japan, the United States, and the European Union. These problems have also led to public outcry, such as in the and the carcinogenic-tainted seafood import restriction, leading to measures such as the "China-free" label. , according to the .
Organic food productsChina has developed a Green Food program where produce is certified for low pesticide input. This has been articulated into Green food Grade A and Grade AA. This Green Food AA standard has been aligned with IFOAM international standards for organic farming and has formed the basis of the rapid expansion of organic agriculture in China. China's organic food production has experienced a rapid expansion in the 2010s, largely attributed to the booming domestic market due to the heightened food safety problem. In many cases, organic food production is organized by organic food companies leasing land from small scale farmers. Farmers' cooperatives and contract farming are also found to be common organizational structures of organic farming in China. The Chinese government has provided various policy and financial supports for the development of the organic sector. In recent years, non-certified organic production in diverse forms such as and is also emerging in China, often initiated by entrepreneurs or civil society organizations.
See also* * * * * * * * * * * *
Sources; Books * (1986). ''Science and Civilization in China: Volume 4, Physics and Physical Technology, Part 3, Civil Engineering and Nautics''. Taipei: Caves Books Ltd. * (2018). ''Organic Food and Farming in China: Top-down and Bottom-up Ecological Initiatives''. New York: Routledge.
Further reading* Chai, Joseph C. H. ''An economic history of modern China'' (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011). * Perkins, Dwight H. ''Agricultural development in China, 1368-1968'' (1969)