Green: Image of China's Agriculture in 21st Century

Despite packaged green vegetables in China's supermarkets are much dearer in price than those in street markets, they are still gaining increasing favor from housewives.

"It is important for the health of my family," said Liu, 34, a white-collar employee in a French company in Beijing.

More and more housewives, like Liu, have become dependent on the green mark glued to the plastic packaging, in the belief that green food will exempt them from unexpected diseases brought on by the unduly application of fertilizer.

Experts agree that "green", a byword for non-polluted, safe, good quality and nutritious, will represent the mainstream of developing China's agriculture in the coming century.

Much to the amazement of the world, China, relying on seven percent of the world's farmland, has over the past decades miraculously fed 22 percent of the world's population.

However, the application of fertilizer and pesticide, together with the reform of species and technological progress, which enabled China to churn out a sufficient amount of food, also confronted Chinese with a deteriorating ecological environment, which brought landslides, desertification, salinization, and so on.

Starting in the early 1990s, China kicked off a green-food project partly for people's health, and partly to prevent the further deterioration of the environment.

"The impact of agriculture on natural resources, the environment and consumers' safety should be taken into account, as it is no longer enough for agriculture to focus solely on economic turnout," said Dr. Bai Ying with the China Agricultural University.

So far, a national network on production, certifying and monitoring has taken shape. A wide rage of green food products have been put onto shop counters, from grain, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, seafood, to wine and soft drinks.

Statistics show that there are 1,353 green food products produced in China with an annual output weighing 11.06 million tons.

The abundance of agricultural products in China has made possible the transfer of Chinese agriculture into a sustainable development path, experts say.

Liu Lianfu, president of the Chinese Green Food Association, proposed that "developing sustainable agriculture by producing non-polluted, safe and nourishing green food can effectively affect China's restructuring process."

Heilongjiang Province in northeast China allocated 100 million yuan (US$12.05 million) each year to support the green food industry. The nation's largest green food market is under construction in coastal Fujian Province in east China.

Daxing'anling Mountain, the largest forest in China, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, home to vast stretches of grasslands, are competing with each other to be the nation's largest green food production base.

At present, the cultivation area of green food is one-360th of China's territory. Furthermore, green food takes only a minor portion of land compared to that required for total agricultural production. China's green food industry is promising, forecast President Liu.

(Xinhua 10/27/2000)

In This Series

Green Plan to Include Farmers’ Interests

Agriculture to Face Challenges



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