How has agriculture developed in China

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1. Areas

Of the total area of ​​960 million hectares, around 645 million hectares are used for agriculture and forestry, of which only 134 million hectares are used as arable land. Of this, 400,000 hectares are lost for construction work every year. Around 2/3 of the arable land is used for growing grain with a decreasing tendency in favor of other fruits. Less than 0.3 hectares of land is available per rural worker.

The usable forest area will be 254 million hectares in 2020, 70 million hectares of which is due to afforestation, and the trend is increasing.

Grassland, which covers around 257 million hectares, is at great risk of erosion despite efforts to create “green belts”. The deserts, which in China total a good 270 million hectares (almost 30% of the total area), are still expanding, especially in the north and northwest. Settled areas and inland waterways take up another 45 million hectares.

2. Population

Of the total population of 1.40 billion people, around 560 million live in rural areas. The proportion of the rural population has steadily declined in recent years. It is now (2020) at 40% of the population. The number of rural households is almost 200 million.

3. Employment and Income

The rural workforce is 330 million, of which 230 million work in agriculture. The number of people employed in agriculture will decrease by around 50-80 million by 2030, but will still amount to around 150 million people. The number of migrant workers continues to rise and in 2020 was 291 million (migrant workers are people who are employed outside their home province for more than six months of the year or who have non-agricultural activity within their home province for more than six months of the year) . Many farmers only work part-time on their land.

Rural incomes are currently around 12,000 RMB / year per person. The city's incomes, on the other hand, are around 35,000 RMB / year. The income of migrant workers is 32,000 RMB / year. The share of income from agriculture is falling accordingly; it now makes up significantly less than 50% of rural incomes.

4. Production

The grain harvest increased from around 500 million t at the end of the 1990s to around 602 million t in 2019. The production of fruit and vegetables in 2019 was 985 million t, that of meat at 109.7 million t and that of fishery products at 65 million t. China is the world's largest milk importer and is now the third largest producer of dairy products, with 33 million tonnes being produced in 2019. Organic cultivation is increasing rapidly. It has a production value of RMB 70 billion and a 3.5% share of agricultural production. The excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides in China is problematic in this context. This amounts to a third of global consumption on less than 10% of the world's arable land and thus doubles the world average.

5. Fishing

China is the world's largest fish producer, exporter and consumer. In 2019, the total production of fishery products in China reached 65 million tons. China continues to rely on the rapid expansion of aquaculture, which already accounts for 73% of the production of fishery products. Catches from coastal and inland waters are declining. In order to conserve stocks, fishing bans and restrictions have been introduced, including on the Yangtze River. The Chinese government is promoting the development and expansion of fishing activities in the coastal waters of other countries and in the high seas. In this context, the Chinese deep-sea fishing fleet is constantly being massively increased and modernized.

6. Forestry

China is the world's largest importer and exporter of wood. A third of all wood plantation fields worldwide are in China. China covers half of the demand, especially for the pulp industry and wood fiber board production, through imports. After decades of overexploitation of the forests, annual logging quotas have now been set in order to protect the wood resources.

To protect against flooding and erosion, logging bans and restrictions as well as extensive reforestation programs have been introduced in large parts of the country.

7. Foreign trade

Agriculture only plays a subordinate role in China's foreign trade with a share of just under 5%. With exports of US $ 79.1 billion and imports of US $ 150.97 billion, the country was again the clear net importer of agricultural products in 2019. The trade deficit of US $ 71.87 billion rose significantly by around 26.5% compared to the previous year.

8. Social security

The social security of the rural population is completely inadequate. A pension does not exist; Instead, farmers are directed to their land use rights. Only every 10th rural resident is insured. Less than 30% of health care resources are available to them.