China should take advantage of the experience and techniques of advanced countries in trying to protect the agricultural environment and cultivate sustainable development in the farming sector, Vice-Minister of Agriculture Liu Jian said Wednesday.
Liu made the assertion at a seminar on the Sino-German Environmental Strategies for Intensive Agriculture program held in Beijing.
With the rapid development of China’s agriculture, unmediated use of fertilizers and pesticides as well as manure has seriously polluted the rural environment, he said.
The increasing degradation of the agricultural environment could lead to pollution of agricultural products themselves, he added.
The six-year program, which will kick off in April, aims to curb agricultural pollution without sacrificing output and promote environmental awareness among Chinese farmers, explained Gao Shangbin of the department of research, education and rural environment under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Germany plans to invest 10 million Deutsche marks (US$4.7 million) in the program and the Chinese side has promised to contribute 80 million yuan (US$9.7 million).
The program will be implemented in Qingzhou and Huimin counties in east China’s Shandong Province, Hengshui’s Taocheng District and Gaocheng in north China’s Hebei Province, and on a pig farm in Tianjin’s Ninghe County, Gao revealed.
According to the program, farmers will be taught how to minimize fertilizer and pesticide residues in their land. Experts will also set up a well-functioning environmental monitoring system to make sure the measures taken by farmers are working, explained Horst Betz, a representative of German Technical Co-operation China.
According to Axel Dorken, head of German Technical Cooperation’s Beijing Office, the company hopes to introduce and promote German knowledge and methods through the program and thus improve the living situation for millions of rural people in China.
(China Daily 01/03/2001)