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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2018, Vol. 17 Issue (04): 755-764    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(17)61774-X
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The transformation of agriculture in China: Looking back and looking forward
JIAO Xiao-qiang1, Nyamdavaa Mongol2, ZHANG Fu-suo1
1 Center for Resources, Environment and Food Security, Department of Plant Nutrition/Key Laboratory of Plant-Soil Interactions, Ministry of Education, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, P.R.China
2 Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
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Abstract  China’s grain yield increased from 1 t ha–1 in 1961 to 6 t ha–1 in 2015, while successfully feeding not only its large population but also supplying agricultural products all over the world.  These achievements were greatly supported by modern technology and distinct governmental policy.  However, China’s grain production has been causing a number of problems mainly related to declining natural resources and a lack of environmental protection.  Due to the growing population and changing dietary requirements, increasing food production must be achieved by increasing resource use efficiency while minimizing environmental costs.  We propose two novel development pathways that can potentially sustain agricultural crop production in the next few decades: (i) enhancing nutrient use efficiency with zero increase in chemical fertilizer input until 2020 and (ii) concurrently increasing grain yield and nutrient use efficiency for sustainable intensification with integrated nutrient management after 2020.  This paper provides a perspective on further agricultural developments and challenges, and useful knowledge of our valuable experiences for other developing countries.
Keywords:  food security        sustainable development       agriculture        grain production  
Received: 06 June 2017   Accepted:

This study was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2015CB150405) and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Grant (2016M601177).

Corresponding Authors:  Correspondence ZHANG Fu-suo, Tel: +86-10-62733499, Fax: +86-10-62731016, E-mail:   
About author:  JIAO Xiao-qiang, E-mail:;

Cite this article: 

JIAO Xiao-qiang, Nyamdavaa Mongol, ZHANG Fu-suo. 2018. The transformation of agriculture in China: Looking back and looking forward. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 17(04): 755-764.

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