China has achieved remarkable success in environmentally friendly farming since the early 1980s when it began developing green agriculture, said Zhang Baowen, vice-minister of agriculture.
Zhang made the remarks at a conference on green agriculture, which was held in Beijing on Monday to mark World Environment Day.
Green agriculture, which adopts environmentally friendly methods such as limited use of pesticides and insecticides, does little damage to natural resources.
So far green agricultural zones cover a total of 6.7 million hectares of arable land in China, according to Zhang.
China has 130 million hectares of arable land, two-thirds of which are low-yield or moderate-yield areas.
These green agriculture zones can be found in 30 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.
In different regions, different agricultural modes have been set up in accordance with local conditions and the level of economic development.
In the Ninth Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000), China launched pilot agricultural projects in 51 counties. With help from the projects, the gross domestic product of the counties increased by 8.4 percent annually, surpassing the national average of 6.2 percent.
China's success in developing green agriculture has won it an international reputation, including praise from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
"China's green agriculture is playing a pioneering role in sustainable development," the UN organization said.
However, the trend of worsening environments in rural areas has not been brought under control owing to many factors, which means green agriculture needs to be strengthened, warned Zhang.
Among 367 million hectares of land affected by soil erosion, 454,000 hectares are cultivable land, Zhang said.
(China Daily 06/05/2001)