Can China feed itself?: A System for Evaluation of Policy Options

Can China feed itself?: A System for Evaluation of Policy Options

Decision-support application for planners and policymakers. Aims to help in the evaluation of options for dealing with China's (future) food problems.

Offers an integrated analysis of China's food prospects that takes into account biophysical, climatic, hydrological, demographic, social, economic, and political dimensions.

Policy conclusions: China has enough arable land and water to feed its projected population of 1.48 billion in 2025 - even at currently available levels of agricultural technology. This does not mean that it will. China might find it economically more attractive to import a certain amount of (food) grain, instead of pushing grain production to its limits. Some parts of the very limited cropland might be used for better purposes than producing rice, wheat, or maize. Also, there is no guarantee that China will develop its agriculture and economy in such a way that it can actually utilize the existing agro-climatic potential. Policy recommendations include:

  • China can (and should) greatly improve water use efficiency in agriculture
  • A trans-basin water diversion is necessary to better supply China's high population concentration in the North China Plain
  • Bottlenecks in transportation infrastructure, technology, and logistics have to be removed
  • Larger farm sizes should be promoted by gradual privatization of the arable land
  • China would benefit from a moderate increase of (feed) grain imports
  • Flood prevention measures must be intensified
  • Research in biotechnology should be further supported
  • Some state intervention in the grain sector is necessary to guarantee a sufficient grain supply
  • Family planning can prevent a larger than expected growth in food demand
  • China's agriculture might benefit from climate change

Includes a wide range of related statistical data sets, converted into tables, maps, satellite images, and charts., Some of the data sets are from the IIASA LUC-GIS, others were collected by the author from the Internet or from statistical reports and yearbooks (such as the FAO data sets and tables from various Chinese statistical yearbooks).

The analysis and data are presented in hypertext format, including links to materials elsewher on Internet

WWW site offers lengthy analysis of data and the major processed statistics/maps.

More in-depth analysis, background data and many of the larger tables and maps (in higher resolutions) are not available at the site and must be purchased on CD-ROM.

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